England (Midlands) Region
24 Apr 18
PGA Assistant Matt Pugh is proving the adage that life can begin at 40 or thereabouts.
Pugh, who lives in Coventry and works at the John Reay Golf Centre on the cusp of the city, has been named the PGA Rookie of the Year.
In recognition of his achievement, Pugh collected the Major John Bywaters Trophy and a cheque for £1,000 from PGA captain John Heggarty at the PGA Graduation Ceremony held at the University of Birmingham.
The award is the latest stage of a journey for the 38-year-old who, inspired by Tiger Woods, took up golf as a teenager.
“I started playing when I was 16,” recalled Pugh, who is almost two thirds of the way through the three year course that will lead to him becoming a PGA Professional.
“That was when Tiger came on the scene. I thought golf was boring but he changed that perception and inspired me to start playing.”
Pugh took steps to turn his interest into a career by completing an HND in golf course management at Reaseheath College in Cheshire.
Most of his contemporaries went into greenkeeping but Pugh still harboured hopes of becoming a golf pro.
“I didn’t fancy greenkeeping,” he added. “So I started work in the pro shop at the Welcombe Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon and took things from there.
“It’s been a long road because of injuries and illness but once I got my handicap down to four to be eligible for the course, that was it.”
In addition to combining his studies with working full time at the John Reay Golf Centre, Pugh has a young family. All of which often means burning the midnight oil to complete his assignments.
“There’s been a lot of working into the early hours to get assignments done,” he said. “It’s hard graft at times so this award makes it all worthwhile.”