Coaching role a 'perfect fit' for David Inglis

DAVID Inglis, a former British Boys' champion who played on a winning Walker Cup team at Ganton in 2003, has given up on his dream of becoming a Tour professional and turned to college coaching in America.

The 28-year-old, who stayed on in the States after going to the University of Tulsa, has landed a job as the assistant men's golf coach at Northwestern University, Luke Donald's alma mater in Chicago.

He is working alongside Pat Goss, the man who helped Donald go on to become one the world's top ten players, and insists his new role is helping him get over the disappointment of seeing his own playing career peter out after such a promising start.

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A member at Glencorse on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Inglis had racked up a whole host of junior titles by the time he won the British Boys' Championship in 2000 at Hillside.

Three years later, the flame-haired player beat Ryan Moore, who went on to become a PGA Tour winner, in the singles as Great Britain & Ireland won a thrilling Walker Cup match in Yorkshire.

However, since turning professional in 2004, Inglis has failed to make his mark on either side of the Atlantic and, after cutting his teeth doing some coaching at Bear Lakes County Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, has now decided to fully commit himself to being an instructor.

"I have loved every minute so far," said the Scot of his role at Northwestern. "I felt like it was the perfect fit for me: I was able to still be competitive in golf and make a living doing what I like the most.

"I feel like I can pass on to players some of the experiences that made me a good college golfer at Tulsa while, at the same time, 'learning the ropes' in coaching from a great man like Pat Goss. Pat is very highly regarded as a college coach and a top 100 teacher in the US, and definitely gives Northwestern a huge advantage when it comes to player development. He has worked with Luke Donald ever since he came to Northwestern in the late-Nineties and is someone I can really learn from."

Donald, in fact, still lives in Chicago and remains heavily involved in the Northwestern golf programme. "He is one of our biggest supporters - and a real class act, too," added Inglis. "Our outdoor practice facility is named after him and he plays a key role in our fund-raising, both as a donor and supporter of Wildcat Golf Day where he gives a clinic to our alumni and boosters."

Inglis, a four-time Western Athletic Conference champion and three-time All-American during his own college days, is just back from California, where the Wildcats finished third at The Gifford Collegiate at CordeValle."It was our best performance of the fall season and included beating the defending NCAA champions, Augusta State, by more than 20 shots," he noted.

"The golf courses we have use of in Chicago are fantastic. We play a number of courses that have staged major USGA and PGA Tour events, including Butler National, Conway Farms, North Shore CC, and Skokie CC.

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"Even in the winter time we are able to still get a lot of work done thanks to our indoor facility at The Gleacher Centre, which is located on campus.

"Obviously I do miss playing competitively, and I still have plans of regaining my amateur status within the next couple of years. But, for now, I am happy to be putting all my efforts into making Northwestern successful."

Goss is delighted to have the Scot on board. "His experience and success as a collegiate player and as a professional golfer will be extremely beneficial to our student-athletes," said the head coach. "David also has a great understanding of what it takes to be successful at Northwestern, and we are looking forward to the positive impact he will undoubtedly have."

Inglis joins three of his female compatriots on the US college coaching scene. Former LPGA Tour player Kathryn Imrie recently became the assistant women's coach at Stanford University, while Colette Murray and Anne Walker are the head women's coaches at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and the University of California-Davis respectively.