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September 1, 2023

The Ledges’ Craig Bocking earns PGA Master Professional status

By Gregg Dewalt, Alabama Golf News Editor
Craig Bocking

He joins an elite corps of PGA members

HUNTSVILLE – Craig Bocking loves to learn and he loves to teach.

Combining those two traits along with a lot of hard work over the last 10-plus years and the director of instruction at The Ledges achieved a milestone in his golf career recently when he earned PGA Master Professional status.

It’s the highest educational designation a PGA member can obtain and puts Bocking, a University of North Alabama graduate, in rare company as one of only 438 Master Professionals in the PGA of America.

Craig Bocking
Craig Bocking is one of just 438 PGA Master Professionals in the U.S.

Bocking is one of only eight current Alabama-NW Florida Section members to achieve that status and one of only two to achieve Master Professional in Instruction.

“It’s definitely a career achievement and something I have wanted to accomplish ever since I got into the business,” Bocking said. “I’ve been fortunate to have a lovely wife [Rachel] that has been really supportive. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her because she has sacrificed a lot over my career. She has allowed me to do what I want every day, and that is definitely special.”

The Master Professional Program is open to any PGA professional with at least 10 years of PGA membership and who has achieved advanced certification through the PGA Certified Professional Program. The curriculum includes an extensive project, based on the specific certification previously acquired by the PGA professional. PGA Master Professional status is earned upon successful completion of the presentation.

Craig Bocking: ‘I wanted to reach the highest level of the PGA’

“I’ve always been an educational guy,” he said. “I like to better myself and I just thought that for me, I wanted to reach the highest level of the PGA. If there was something higher than (Master Professional) I’d probably go for that, too.”

Alabama-NW Florida Section Executive Director Bart Rottier said he was proud of Bocking for earning Master Professional status.

“It is always great to see a section member dedicate the time and effort to educate themselves to become a PGA Master Professional,” he said. “Craig has worked tremendously hard to achieve this goal and our section leadership is very proud of him.”

Bocking has been the PGA director of instruction at The Ledges since 2018. He has been the recipient of the Alabama-NW Florida PGA Section Teacher & Coach of the Year Award three times (2016, ‘20, ‘21) and has been named to the Golf Digest “Best Teachers In Your State” list every year since 2017.
Bocking praised The Ledges for allowing him to do what he loves – teach.

“The Ledges has been great to me,” he said. “They have played a huge part in me being able to pursue becoming a Master Professional. They have supported me every step of the way. Together, we are building a world-class coaching program at The Ledges for anyone wanting to play their best golf.”

Teaching has always been the goal for Bocking, who has coached more than 70 students who went on to play college golf. But his clientele is more than just rising stars.

Using technology ‘to see things better’

“I have always loved helping golfers improve their game and play their best,” he said. “I want all of them – whether it is a recreational golfer, a weekend hacker, an up-and-coming junior – to play their best. I just enjoy helping players play better and growing the game.”

Bocking tailors his teaching to the type of individual he is working with. He said he doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all methodology.

“I do have a system of the way I coach, and that’s based on what they can do physically,” he said. “Their physiology is important, so I, I’ll do some screens and understand how the player moves and then I kind of work with that. Understanding how the player moves, what their body can do physically, and then I’ll kind of build a game plan around that. And yeah, we’ll just kind of chat and discuss on some of the ways that we can help them with their golf game.”

With a boom in technology and so many teachers offering swing advice on social media, Bocking said many students come to him with preconceived notions about how they want to swing. Bocking uses technology, but says it is more for him “to see things better.”

“There are some people who think I am a mechanical coach, but I am far from it,” he said. “I use it to see things better – I want to be able to have factual information and not guess at what is going on. I don’t share all the data with them – maybe just one or two key points. Technology has really helped me expedite the learning curve and allowed me to see things better so I can help the students improve at a much, much faster rate. All I want players to do is have fun and enjoy the game and obviously, to play their best golf.”

And now, players have a PGA Master Professional to guide them along that path.

Gregg Dewalt is the editor of Alabama Golf News

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All photos courtesy of Craig Bocking

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