Michael Balderstone – Founder and Managing Director
Balderstone Sports Institute
|@balderstone_sports_institute, @bsi_golf, @bsi_football, @michael_balderstone|
|Balderstone Sports Institute, BSI Golf, BSI Football, Michael Balderstone|
|Balderstone Sports Institute, Michael Balderstone|
|Balderstone Sports Institute|
|What led you to becoming a PGA Professional?
|Golf as my specialist sport from the age of 15. I represented my county at junior and amateur level, then got the opportunity to study a PGA-accredited course at college. As golf was my passion, it was a no-brainer to enter the industry as a career and the best way to do that was as a PGA Professional.|
|How long have you been in your current position?
|What does your job entail?
|I manage the Balderstone Sports Institute in Johannesburg, which currently consists of a golf academy, football academy, high school study centre, college, boarding house, and fitness centre. We also have a franchise in Cape Town. I have 18 full-time staff members.|
|Do you have any environmental or sustainability goals that you have met and would like to share?
|All of our education programmes have been transferred to online or digital format, which has significantly reduced our paper usage. We also offer Environmental Management as a subject in our high school study centre.|
|Please give us a brief outline of the path you took to lead you to your current position||I started my career and qualified as a PGA Professional in England, before heading to South Africa in 1998. Apart from two extended seasons in USA, I’ve been in South Africa for 22 years;
1993 – 1994 Assistant Professional, Langton Park, Leicestershire, England
1994 – 1997 Head Professional, Langton Park, Leicestershire, England
1997 – 1998 Assistant Professional, Manston Golf Centre, Kent, England
1998 – 2000 Assistant Professional, Wedgewood Park/PEGC, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
2001 – 2002 Coach/Director, World of Golf Teaching Academy, Jhb, South Africa
2002 -2003 Coach/Director of Instruction, Julian Krinsky School of Golf, Chicago/Philadelphia, USA
2004 Founder/Managing Director, The Golf School of Excellence (later changed to Balderstone Sports Institute.
|Why do you feel that you would be a good candidate to win this award?
|I was honoured to win this award in 2018. Since then I’ve expanded my business into a multi-sport education and training institute.
I opened The Golf School of Excellence (TGSE) for business in January 2004, with the aim of providing holistic elite golf training for school leavers, to bridge the gap between junior golf and turning professional. We started with 7 full-time students and a year later we had 24. For the first 4 years we provided elite golf training only and our size remained fairly constant around 20-24 students.
From 2008 we started offering education alongside the golf training, which was to become our main business model. We started by offering the PGA Diploma, for which we have become the leading provider in SA. We now also offer Greenkeeping and an additional tertiary qualification, and will be launching a Sports Management course in 2021. The legacy of the PGA Diploma programme is our graduates that are doing great things in our industry. In 2013 we added a full-time Junior Academy, providing high school education combined with elite golf training from grade 8 upwards.
We have since expanded our market to providing high schooling to young athletes in other sports by setting up our Sports Study Centre. In 2019 we changed our trading name to the Balderstone Sports Institute (BSI) in line with our multi-sport offering. We also opened a football academy in January 2019, which is growing rapidly.
Back in 2010 we expanded our academy base by opening our first franchise in Pretoria, followed by another franchise in Cape Town in 2013. At one stage we had 5 separate academies operating under the TGSE brand, but have since closed down 3 branches and currently focus on operations in Johannesburg and Cape Town. We have approximately 140 full-time students in our High School, College and Academy programmes.
I currently employ 18 staff members (including 5 PGA members) and contract to dozens more.
My main business philosophies:
· Build things steadily, focusing on quality of product.
· Constantly look to improve the product and service provided.
· Add new products to stay ahead of the curve.
· Hire for attitude first, skills second.
· Hard work, perseverance and sacrifice are essential for long-term success.