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Having turned pro over 30 years ago, world renowned coach Kevin Craggs has taken the step from Falkirk to Florida to lead the famous IMG Academy’s Golf operation
Kevin Craggs: Living The American Dream
“I’m the happiest I’ve ever been,” Kevin Craggs says about his newly-found role as Director of Golf Coaching and Instruction at the spectacular IMG Academy on the west coast of Florida.
“Walking through those gates everyday is incredible,” the world-renowned coach says before describing the Floridian boarding school as the “single best facility for athletics and academics in the world.”
IMG’s golfing alumni include Major champion and multiple LPGA Tour winner Paula Creamer, 2016 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Emiliano Grillo, 2019 RBC Heritage winner CT Pan and LPGA Tour stars Nelly and Jessica Korda.
No other golf academy has won more junior tournaments, with IMG students winning an incredible 950 events, nor has any other golf academy generated as many college scholarships or had as many players reach the pro tours.
Craggs is an experienced figure in the world of golf, having worked with some major names in the game including the late great Seve Ballesteros, as well as two of his current pupils Colin Montgomerie and Paula Creamer.
He has earned a PGA Advanced Fellowship and has spent more than 25 years as a dedicated golf coach teaching players of all different ages and abilities across the globe.
“Unless you try something beyond what you have already mastered you will never grow,” is his mantra.
Now based in sunny Florida, Kevin grew up playing golf at Hawkstone Park in Shropshire, where his fellow Scot and two-time Major champion Sandy Lyle also played, with Lyle’s father the head professional.
“His knowledge and enthusiasm for the game is incredible, he is an outstanding coach with a gift to be able to explain things simply," Lyle says of Craggs.
Craggs may have grown up in England but is Scottish with a Scottish father and a Welsh mother – he describes himself as “Scwelsh.”
He wasn’t born in England, Scotland or Wales though. He was born in Cypress as his father, who introduced him to the game of golf, worked in the RAF.
Kevin developed his skills in Shropshire and turned out to be an excellent player, turning professional in 1986.
He competed on the numerous tours worldwide alongside some household names, won plenty of pro-ams, set course records and made it through to Open Championship Final Qualifying in six of eight attempts.
The money dried up though, and he went over to Belgium to coach where he met a 10-year-old Nicolas Colsaerts who would constantly want to challenge Kevin on the course and the practice green.
The pair still remain in touch to this day, with Colsaerts crediting the Scot for giving him the important fundamentals in all areas as a junior, and still apply today.
Craggs found his way back to his homeland and eventually set up the Kevin Craggs Academy in Falkirk after becoming the Scottish National Team Coach, where he worked with the country’s elite golfers.
That went hand-in-hand with being named as one of Golf Monthly’s Top 25 Coaches which saw him offer up his expertise in producing magazine articles and videos.
Craggs has experience with juniors, regular amateur golfers, elite amateurs and professionals, and combines all that experience with his playing days to offer golfers the full package.
He is much more than just a swing coach having worked as a mentor, manager and a performance coach too, with great knowledge of the mental side of the game as well as the scoring clubs from pitching to bunker play to putting.
‘Teaching + coaching + managing + mentoring = coach’ is what Craggs builds his foundations on.
That’s why he is the perfect fit for IMG. It’s likely every student comes with a good swing, but it’s how they turn that swing into low scores.
Kevin and his 30+ year experience becomes such an asset.
Kevin spent a decade out on Tour with Scots like Stephen Gallacher, and Catriona Matthew amongst others, and he cites one of his proudest achievements as taking three-time Solheim Cup Star Mel Reid from 87th in the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit to Number One in Europe in less than 12 months.
“Kevin not only saved my game he rescued my career," Mel Reid said of the Scot.
"His knowledge and ability to coach in a simple way is without doubt world class, he is a major influence to me on and off the course."
Kevin is also one of the privileged few who spent time working with five-time Major champion and true golfing legend Seve Ballesteros.
Seve describes Craggs as “One of the most natural and talented coaches I have ever seen.”
“Seve taught me to listen, Monty taught me how to respond and Ben [his son] taught me how to reflect,” Craggs told Golf Monthly.
“Everyone was telling me I needed to come over to America,” Craggs said, with his time split between the UK and US as his working relationship 2010 US Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer developed.
So that’s what he did.
He was already coaching Creamer and helping out eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie when he made the move to the States in late 2018.
“Monty is as determined as he has ever been,” Craggs says, revealing that he has literally just been texting his fellow Scot after receiving a video of his swing.
“I’ve worked with Kevin for years and must admit that he’s the most enthusiastic and positive coach I’ve ever had, he is terrific, great Coach with a vast knowledge," Montgomerie says.
Creamer is now making her way back up the world rankings and much of that can be put down to her work with Kevin.
"When I’m just near him it makes me want to be better. I’ve never had this much fun playing golf," the Pink Panther said of her coach.
Craggs became Director of Golf at Bishopsgate Academy near Orlando before making his dream move to IMG in June 2019.
He now bases himself in Sarasota, swapping Falkirk for Floridian beaches, moving out there with his wife, son and daughter.
His son, Ben, is a fantastic player himself and currently competes on the Moonlight Tour with ambitions to reach the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020.
His daughter will be enrolling at IMG Academy in August both in the academic and athletic program with no surprise her chosen sport being golf.
Kevin still coaches Monty and Creamer but that is about it in terms of Tour Pros for the moment as he focuses his attention on the IMG scholars and developing a world class performance structure for students to develop and grow their talents.
IMG academy is home to around 1,200 student athletes aged between 12-19 boarding and studying whilst honing their skills in a wide range of sports.
It’s the world’s largest and most advanced multi-sport training and educational institution. The golf operation, as you would expect, is phenomenal.
There are 16 coaches across full swing, putting, short game, and course strategy along with a comprehensive support team who deliver Athletic Performance Development in the mental game, physical conditioning, nutrition and character life skills.
Students also have access to the IMG 18-hole championship course, short game area, putting green, driving range and a state-of-the-art tour studio at their disposal.
The facilities are so comprehensive that they’re regularly used by past alumni’s and touring pros.
The students could not be in safer hands to achieve their dreams with Kevin Craggs at the helm.
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Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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