England Golf performance director Nigel Edwards has hailed the skills of the 10 PGA Professionals appointed to spearhead the revamped U16’s regional coaching programme.
The selection of the pros supports The PGA’s vision of Right Coach; Right Place; Right Time and highlights the benefits of its partnership with England Golf through initiatives such as County Golf Partnerships.
Next stop for the successful candidates will be an induction and training session in August at England Golf headquarters in Woodhall Spa before identifying their squads for the winter training ahead.
“I’m delighted with the coaches selected to help us take the programme to the next level. It was a tough recruitment process and the competition was very strong,” said Edwards.
One of the PGA pros identified with the requisite coaching abilities is Stoke by Nayland’s Roly Hitchcock who will look after the east region coaching programme.
He admitted it was an exciting opportunity and believes it vindicates his efforts and commitment to on-going education and learning.
“I’ve been involved with England Golf before but it’s my first time at this age group,” he said. “It’s quite a nice development age when you are just starting to see golfing talent emerge and hopefully the programme will help their progress over the next few years.
“I think the key is that you can see them all develop in all areas of their game. They start to understand their strengths and weaknesses through collecting data and information on their golf rounds so they can see what they need to work on and hopefully will improve and go on to bigger and better things.”
Hitchcock had previously got involved with England Golf U18s through his knowledge of the AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence) which he employed at his golf academy.
He is also celebrating after just completing the two year Post Graduate Diploma in Sport Pedagogy being run by The PGA and the University of Birmingham and remains passionate about coaching and improving his skills and hopes to utilise them to help nurture a new wave of English talent.
“I’ve just completed the two year course and my professional learning has definitely been enhanced by that,” he added. “The course has been really good as has meeting and working with other coaches and finding out the information that makes them tick.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to put some of that to use with the U16s, I’m really looking forward to the experience.”
The new programme replaces the current Birdie and Select pathway with ten regional U16 girls’ squads. Players will each receive 20 days of coaching and an equivalent of 10 days physical development. The changes follow a successful restructuring of the boys’ regional coaching programme in 2012/13.
The successful candidates will join the U16 boys’ regional coaches for an induction and training session in August at England Golf headquarters in Woodhall Spa before identifying their squad for the winter training ahead.
The full list of PGA Professionals and their respective regions is as follows: Matfen Hall’s John Vallely (North), Wynyard’s Andrew Nicholson (Yorkshire), SA Golf Consultancy’s Steve Astle(North West), Coxmoor’s Matt Whall (West Midlands), Oaks Golf Club’s John Mellor (East Midlands), Stoke by Nayland’s Roly Hitchcock (East), Whipsnade Park’s Mark Day (Thames Valley), Ferndown’s Scott Godfrey (South West), West London Golf Centre’s Alex Saary (South) and Reigate Hill’s Matt Antell (South East).