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Dance king Ryan’s moving on up…

RYAN Wingate made the headlines last March when he danced his way to success in a charity ‘Strictly’ competition.

This spring the 36-year-old’s name is back in lights after being appointed as the new head PGA professional at Ipswich Golf Club.

It is the latest development in a longstanding link between the prestigious Suffolk club and Wingate, who initially was employed there back in 2007.

He went on to spend five years away as head professional at Royston before re-joining Ipswich in 2019, working under his long-time ally Kevin Lovelock.

And when Lovelock retired from the club earlier this year, Wingate was very pleased to be chosen as his successor. Wingate said: “Starting out, the ambition was always to become head professional at a club with Ipswich’s standing. It’s been a lot of hard work to get here and I am absolutely delighted to have landed the role.”

Wingate was quick to express his gratitude to his predecessor Lovelock, who had been at Ipswich since 2007. He said: “I will even say he’s been like my second dad. He has taken me under his wing and taught me his trade. “We kept in contact as friends when I left. Returning, we developed the role together over recent years, with the retail and golf club elements. He has been my mentor the whole way through.”

Wingate also benefitted from an industry resource hotbed called PGA Learn, designed to arm PGA professionals with all the aspects they need to progress their careers. He explained: “You can look for and develop the skills that you need. The business elements on PGA Learn helped me to develop my business plan to present to the golf club. I think it’s a good tool.”

As an experienced PGA professional in his own right, Wingate has a sound perspective on what’s required from him on a daily basis.

He said: “I’ve always looked at it as 30 per cent the shop, 30 per cent the coaching and 30 per cent the golf club – fill in the bits in between. 

“I’m running a retail business, so that’s key, but also without a golf club that’s not as successful. So those two elements come very much hand in hand and make up a bulk of my working week. 

“Equally the members here are very supportive and want coaching from their local pro, so there’s time managed for that as well.”

And for anyone wondering, in among all his responsibilities Wingate still digs out the glittery costume and heads for the dance floor. Well, maybe not quite the bit about the costume…

Written by Tony Rushmer

Martin Webb is a keen amateur golfer and has been the editor of Suffolk Norfolk & Essex Golf Magazine since 2023.

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