Howley Hall professional Ryan Rastall is celebrating after picking up the ‘Pro Shop of the Year’ award at the TGI Golf Awards at Trump Turnberry in Scotland.
Rastall was four of four nominees for the awards which were presented by golf buying group TGI, and beat off competition from Scotland, Wales and the South of England.
He learned the game at Sleaford Golf Club in his native Lincolnshire and represented the county at junior and senior level before moving to Prestbury after his father Tim, who represented the GB & Ireland against the USA in the 1990 PGA Cup, was appointed head professional at the Cheshire club.
After studying sports technology at Central Lancashire University, he spent five years at Oulton Hall, in Leeds, where he moved through the ranks to become Golf Operations Manager before turning professional to join James Whitaker at Moor Allerton.
A rightfully proud Rastall said: “There were three other very good nominees so to win came as a bit of shock but it’s a huge accolade and I’m very proud of what we have achieved here in such a short space of time.”
Rastall receives his award from TGI retail consultant Peter Smyth
Rastall said: “As an individual pro shop we probably have more demo clubs than anybody else in Yorkshire, but I always try to be honest with customers and if I can’t find them something which gives them more distance or accuracy or will not improve their game then I recommend they stay with what they are currently using.”
The 33-year-old added:” I joined the group two and a half years ago when I took over from James Whitaker as head professional here at Howley and called in Chris Taylor who is the TGI retail consultant for my area. Following his review, I changed what wasn’t working and kept what was.
“I have always been really interested in the equipment side of golf and custom fitting and it is that part of the business that has really taken off for me, and as well as the members we also get a lot of people from further afield.
As an equipment geek, Rastall made a beeline for guest speaker Mike Schy who coaches Bryson De Chambeau.
As well as developing the one plane swing used by his star pupil, Schy has also played the role of club fixer too. He helped grind down the shafts for Bryson to create his one-length irons and is also believed to have been the brains behind Bryson using larger grips than usual because it allowed him to hold the club with his palms and not his fingers.
“Mike Schy was unbelievably interesting he spoke at the partners’ conference at Trump Turnberry for an hour and a half but could have gone on for five hours for me,” he added.
Rastall had the chance to chat to Schy before he went on stage and as a result of the chat is now experimenting with his own set of one-length irons.
“He had with him the first set of irons he made for Bryson. Not only were they the same length but he had taken weight out of some of the clubs to make sure the heads were the same weight as were the grips, so all the clubs had the same swingweight and dead weight.”
When Whitaker was also appointed head professional at Howley Hall in 2015, Rastalll moved over as his assistant to run the shop and teaching operation and took over as head professional in June 2016.
Brother Tom, who travelled to Trump Turnberry with Ryan, and England amateur international Ben Hutchinson made up the rest of the award-winning team, although the lure of a return to Lincolnshire proved too hard to resist for Tom who left last month to join the staff at Belton Woods. He will be replaced by PGA Professional Paul Burns who will be re-united with Rastall after spending the last 13 years at Oulton Hall where they first met.
Rastall’s reputation as an equipment guru has been further enhanced by website Golfshake.com who appointed him as their equipment expert, and he now conducts testing on their behalf.