31 Mar 17
There’s never a dull moment in the busy life of John Heggarty who has been elected PGA captain.
The 58-year-old combines his main occupation as Royal Liverpool professional with a plethora of activities which would strike fear into the hearts of most ordinary folk.
But he contrives to take everything in his stride and is clearly unperturbed by his devotion and commitment to the Royal & Ancient game.
“I always try to do my very best and hope it makes a difference,” he says with commendable honesty.
“I served on the PGA board of directors for some time and was captain-elect in the two years preceding my appointment as captain. I will do my best to represent the PGA at various events.”
Heggarty, who has been incumbent at Royal Liverpool since 1982, added: “As captain, I’ll be obliged to attend prize-giving ceremonies and make speeches at the relevant times. I’m looking forward to representing the PGA. It’s a great honour. I’m privileged to be professional at my club and this latest role is the icing on the cake.”
Heggarty, a former PGA North chairman, has also worked for the R&A and PGAs of Europe developing golf throughout the world. “I’ve visited many places,” he recalled. “I was on the Ryder Cup board when we won in Medinah in 2012 which is still a great memory.”
Back home, he was head professional for two Open Championships at the Hoylake club and one women’s Open. “Those were real highlights for me,” he said.
He still coaches the Cheshire County players alongside Peter Barber, the Didsbury professional. “Being involved with young aspiring players still gives me a big thrill,” he admitted.
“I will always balance the responsibilities of all the roles so I don’t let anybody down. While it would be good if I could to spend the whole week at the Open at Royal Birkdale, which is a great thrill for our members, I will still to go back to my own club to service the members.”
Heggarty was born in Liverpool, but passionate about his Scottish upbringing, His first assistant’s role was at Hayston Golf Club in Glasgow, later moving to Shaw Park Golf Club in Alloa. He then moved back south to become an assistant to John Morgan at Royal Liverpool then landed his first head pro job at Wirral Ladies Golf Club at the age of 21.
But it wasn’t long before he returned to Hoylake.
“Morgan was a good professional and played in a lot of tournaments so as an assistant I became heavily involved in the business when he was competing. In hindsight, my day to day running of the shop perhaps gave the selection committee confidence to appoint me in his place.”
Heggarty was honoured in the APAL (Accreditation for Professional Achievement & Learning) awards in 2013 which has seen him attain the PGA’s highest membership category in recognition of his long standing in the game.
He described himself as “a traditional club pro” and said he was humbled to be named alongside such luminaries of the sport as the late John Jacobs, David Leadbetter, Denis Pugh and Pete Cowen who have all attained the category.
Meanwhile, his wife Helen is this year’s Royal Liverpool lady captain.