England and Wales (South West) Region
22 May 14
John Sharkey, a legend in Bournemouth golfing circles, has died at the age of 77 a few weeks after a special day was held in his honour at Canford Magna Golf Club where he spent his final ten years coaching youngsters.
A former European Tour player, he played four rounds in The Open at Muirfield in 1959 – venue of Gary Player’s first Open victory - and was a member of the Great Britain & Ireland PGA Cup team which competed against the United States in 1976.
He was best known as club professional at Queens Park, one of the two council-owned courses in Bournemouth, where he spent most of his career.
He co-designed Bulbury Woods at Lytchett Minster in 1988, the first 18-hole circuit to be built in Dorset to address the shortage of courses in the east of the county during that boom period. He became co-owner until it was sold seven years later.
He spent ten years alongside the other professionals at Canford Magna where hundreds of children were introduced to golf through the Canford Kids coaching programme before retiring earlier this year.
He was president of the Bournemouth Professional Golfers’ Alliance for 25 years until 2009 and also played a prominent role with the Dorset PGA.
David Cooper, Canford’s head professional, dedicated his professional’s day as a tribute to Sharkey this year.
Paul Barrington performed his trick show and former Tour man Bill Longmuir and amateur international Georgia Hall joined the 46 teams of members who attended a free day where prizes valued at £1,000 were offered.
Hall, the star ex-Canford Kids pupil who is the British Women’s Amateur champion and 11th-ranked amateur in the world, is now preparing for a professional career.
Two separate competitions were held on the Parkland and Riverside courses. The two winning teams then competed for the new annual Sharkey Trophy in a putting competition.
The funeral is being held at Bournemouth Crematorium on June 5 (2pm), followed by a gathering at Canford Magna Golf Club.