England (Midlands) Region
08 Feb 19
The region’s outgoing captain Noel Woodman urged his fellow Members to do their bit and raise money for The PGA Benevolent Fund when he brought his year in office to a close.
Woodman, who is attached to Kidderminster Golf Club and pictured right with regional chairman Craig Philiips , is indebted to the help he received from the Fund when he was unable to work for six months because of a debilitating back injury.
Speaking during the PGA Midlands Regional Members’ Meeting at Henley Golf and Country Club, Woodman recalled: “I didn’t know what the Fund was about and was asked to contact David Wright, one of its trustees, and Tristan Crew. They were fantastic in my hour of need.
“I must stress that we never know what’s round the corner from a health point of view or whatever may come about.
“If you’re self-employed and your income streams are cut straight off, how long could you last on whatever savings you’ve got? It can be a very worrying time.
“So whatever you can do to raise money – whether contributing the return from a half-an-hour lesson, having a charity day or whatever – please do your best.
“We had a Captain’s Charity Day at Kidderminster in September and raised almost £2,000 for the Fund. So please think what the Benevolent Fund is, what it does, and how it could help you if you ever needed it.
“There are lots of heart-breaking stories coming out and even though there is money in the pot it isn’t endless. That’s why more is needed to help more people.”
Woodman has been succeeded by Nic Gilks (right), the head pro and owner of Bramcote Waters Golf Club, Warwickshire.
Gilks, who began his career in golf more than 40 years ago, reflected: “There is someone in the room I’d like to thank – Neil Selwyn-Smith, who gave me my first assistants job in 1975.
“Sorry if that makes you feel old, Neil, it does me as well! I had four years as an assistant with him, which makes me a member of the Association for 40 years.”
His stint at Edgbaston was followed by roles at Tamworth Municipal, Market Harborough, Nuneaton and Eaglescliffe Golf Clubs before he purchased Bramcote Waters in 1995.
He joined the PGA Rules panel five years later and passed the R&A rules exam in 2007.
“I’ve had some great experiences being a referee,” he added: “Not least with Rob Simpson, who is here today, when we were both referees at the Ryder Cup last year.
“Now I’ve been appointed regional captain. That’s a great honour and I’m looking forward to my year as captain and to seeing you during it.”
The meeting, which was attended by more than 100 of the region’s Members as well as Robert Maxfield, the Association’s chief executive, and PGA chairman Alan White, also included the presentation of the 2018 awards.
Andy Willey, winner of the Titleist and Footjoy PGA Professional Championship but was unable to attend, was named Midlands Professional of the Year.
Paul Streeter (right), who is attached to Lincoln Golf Centre and marked his debut season on the Staysure Tour by winning the Travis Perkins Masters at Woburn, was named Midlands Player of the Year.
Accepting his award from Alan White, he said: “It’s a great honour to receive this. It’s been fantastic playing in the region in the last 12 years.
“It’s been a great stepping stone for me to move on to the Seniors Tour. I had a fantastic year on it in 2018 although, beforehand, everyone told me that PGA guys weren’t wanted.
“That’s absolute rubbish. They could not have made me or Dave Shacklady, another PGA pro from the North Region, more welcome.”
"It’s been a fantastic year. Playing in the Seychelles was one of the highlights – for anyone who watched the event on TV you wouldn’t have seen we had protesters at the side of the sixth hole. They were jeering, shouting, blowing whistles and banging drums to try and put us off playing. They thought we were polluting their waters with golf balls!"
The Coach of the Year Award went to Paul Spence (right) from Kenwick Park Golf Club, Lincolnshire.
Spence, whose pupils include Tour pro Ashton Turner and elite amateur Sam Done, said: “I’m delighted to win this award, especially as I’m unable to compete these days because of injury.
“That has allowed me to help other golfers improve their games. This can be very rewarding and I can see on a day-to-day basis that it’s must easier telling people what to do than perhaps doing it properly myself.
“My biggest thanks go to the players – we’ve had some fantastic results and withou them I wouldn’t be stood here today.”
Finally, the Special Recognition Award was given posthumously to Sean Power, the long-serving, popular and highly-respected head PGA Professional at Enville Golf Club who passed away last autumn following a two-year fight against Leukaemia.
The award was accepted on his behalf by Jeremy Nicholls (right) who said: “This is a great honour for me to collect the award on behalf of Sean. I know Sean’s family and friends will appreciate it.”
Earlier Robert Maxfield and Tristan Crew had charted the progress The PGA had made in the previous year and outlined the Association’s plans and objectives for the next 12 months.
The format of the meeting followed that which had been introduced in 2018 and Maxfield said: “This is a chance for you to hear the Association’s plans and provide any feedback or comments you might have.”
He explained the regional secretary’s role had changed to manager, which gave him the opportunity to visit more clubs and pick up good feedback and, added there would be an increase in tournament activity.”