RACHAEL TIBBS went to great lengths in pursuit of her ambition to specialise in golf fitness training – to Germany and Spain, in fact.
She had a BA (Hons) Marketing degree from Leeds Beckett University and was working in Leeds for Santander when she decided on a change of career.
Her dual interests in fitness and golf – she began playing 10 years ago and quickly reached single figures – led her to become a level 3 Personal Trainer, a Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) certified Level 1 and Level 2 Golf Fitness Professional, and a Level 3 Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Tibbs did not even let her pregnancy with second child Amelia, now two, divert her from her path.
“I have always loved fitness and then obviously golf, and I have always been sporty,” says the 34-year-old. “I went into marketing and contracts after university and it was pretty boring work, really.
“I wanted to do something for me so I did my personal training course. While I was on maternity leave (following the birth of first child, William) I did it over a year.
“I decided I didn’t just want to be any old personal trainer, I wanted to be something specific, so I went to do my TPI levels one and two.
“The Titleist Performance Institute was set up by Titleist about 12 years ago now. Level one of the training is all about understanding the link between how the body moves and how that corresponds with the golf swing characteristics. It is recognised worldwide as a good certification to have.
“Level one I went to do over in Germany while I was pregnant with Amelia - I thought, ‘if I want to do it I’m just going to do it’ - and I went and did that when I was 20 weeks pregnant. I got my level one in Germany and after I had had Amelia I went and did my level two in Madrid. That is specific to fitness, obviously strength, power and subjects like that.”
Having begun her career as a personal trainer, Tibbs eventually felt confident enough to begin working specifically with golfers, some of whom were fellow members at Howley Hall.
“I had been in an office job, 9 to 5, but it was never really what I wanted to do,” she says. “With having kids I thought that I could be there for their first days at school if I could choose my hours, and I didn’t want to be one of these mums who hardly sees their kids.
“I have had great support from my husband, Andy, he supports me a lot. It costs money to go and do your courses, and time as there is lots of studying. It has been four years of continuous studying, but you have to keep learning.
“I wouldn’t say I am the adventurous type, but if you want something you have to go and get it, don’t you?”
Her clients cross a wide spectrum of abilities, from European Tour professional Chris Hanson to amateurs in their mid-sixties.
“I have just done another course after I did my golf specifics because I am now working with people like Chris Hanson who want to be at the top of the game - so I thought I should up my game as well,” she explains.
As well as offering her support, Tibbs has husband Andy to thank for getting her into golf.
“Andy took me to the driving range and then I just started playing and I got my handicap down from 36 to 14 within two years,” she says.
“I have always been told that I swing the club quite naturally, but I don’t know whether that’s to do with me being quite good at all sports. To be fair, I have always played a lot of sports and have good hand-eye coordination.”
Tibbs has got her name on major honours boards at both Willow Valley and Howley Hall, but now her daily focus is on helping others advance their own games where they, too, can think of seeing their name up in gold lettering at their clubs.
You can contact Rachael Tibbs by email, email@example.com, or by phone, 07736 906 881.
Her website is www.dynamic-golf.co.uk.