Stoke City favourite Peter Odemwingie has got his first golf coaching badge as he starts his mission to ‘preach the good word’ in Nigeria and Russia.
Odemwingie has joined the PGA Training Programme after hanging up his football boots – and admits he sees the future as a trainer rather than top level player.
He has been taken under the wing of PGA pro Jak Hamblett and, with a level two badge on the horizon, he has visions of helping the sport expand in new places.
“I know Richard O’Hanlon, who is a fully-qualified PGA teaching pro and I’ve played in many Pro-Ams with him so I asked him how it works,” said the former forward in an interview for the PGA with Broadbeach Films.
“Then at Stoke, just by our training ground, there is an American Golf. Sometimes, because I had to travel up the M6, I would have some time before I had to be in so I would stop and go and look at the equipment which has come in.
“I met Neil Wain, who works at the Belfry, the Academy, and is on his third year of the PGA. He’s been very helpful and I asked him how it all works. Living just around the corner from the Belfry I thought it was a perfect opportunity to get this education.
“Then I have plans to preach the gospel of golf – the good news! – in the countries I came from, Russia and Nigeria.
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“My best days as a golfer may be behind me but at 38, as a coach if I’m fully qualified in three years, I could set up a little Academy and it would be the first step to getting that Nigeria flag right there on the screens alongside all the other African nations that are there.
“As they say, how do you believe if you’ve never heard? I want to be loud and let them know the game of golf is very interesting. It demands a lot of physical fitness, it’s not a static game, and the health benefits for physical and mental are huge.
“It’s a no brainer to be an ambassador for such a beautiful game.”
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Odemwingie was a hugely popular player at Stoke after joining mid-way through Mark Hughes’s first season with superb form and an infectious smile.
He had grown up in Russia and played in Nigeria, France and Moscow before joining West Brom in 2010.
In 2014 he became the first Stoke player to score at a World Cup finals – netting past clubmate Asmir Begovic’s Bosnia – but he then had to overcome a serious knee injury before a goal-spattered chapter in Indonesia with Madura United.
He retired in 2018 and has ambitions as a football coach, even if they are on the backburner at the moment.
“I will still do the football coaching badges because I have a lot of knowledge in that sport, have played in many countries and speak a few languages,” he said.
“There is still an opportunity to coach in there – but golf has taken over. I love the game so much that I have put football on hold.
“I saw potential in my golf swing and I’ve had so many notes on the journey to professional golf within five years and it’s good to have that knowledge. You have to know what your own body does, the tendencies and then work with that.”