History was made yesterday when Beverly Lewis becomes the first woman to captain The Professional Golfers‘ Association.
She has been the lady-in-waiting for the last two years as captain elect and succeeds John Yeo to the post following the PGA’s Annual General Meeting held at The DeVere Belfry near Sutton Coldfield. Her appointment marks a significant breakthrough for the professional game, which has been male dominated over the last century.
Commenting, PGA chief executive Sandy Jones said, “After 104 years with a man at the helm, it’s a refreshing change to have a lady as PGA captain. Bev is more than qualified for the role and was voted for unanimously by the board on the basis of her professional credentials, as the best candidate available.”
As Captain of the PGA, Beverly will be an ambassador for the Association and represent the membership at all the official functions and major golf events including the Open and the US Masters, which she attended this month for the first time.
Her credentials are endless and capture a remarkable career in golf since being first introduced to the game at the age of 18 years, when she played at a local pitch-n-putt course in open toed sandals with a club bought from a junk shop in Southend.
She is a founder member of the Women’s PGA, one of the first lady professionals to gain PGA membership, a qualified R&A referee, a respected lecturer on the sport, an author not to mention a highly regarded teacher and a key member of the BBC TV commentary team.
In spite of having two years to get used to the idea, Beverly says she’s still slightly stunned at being elected to her new role. “This is an amazing honour, and I couldn‘t have been more surprised than if someone had asked me to be Queen. I am delighted to be in a position to champion women’s golf, as well as having the opportunity to make a difference within the professional circles of the game.
“I have learned a lot about the role over the last two years by working alongside John Yeo and now I can‘t wait to take the reins myself.
“It’s quite daunting when you are described as a role model for women, I hope that I am able to show everyone that golf isn‘t just for retired men, but an exciting sport that welcomes all, including teenagers – at every level. If I can leave a legacy I hope it is that of massively increasing the numbers of female golfers in the UK from school girls to working mums.”
Beverly, who currently teaches at the Brentwood Golf Centre, has also become one of the sport’s most prolific authors with ten teaching books currently to her credit. Her other links with golf in Essex are with Thorndon Park Golf Club, where she has been a member for nearly 30 years.
Supporting Beverly in her role will be captain-elect Parnell Reilly who is head professional at Bradley Park GC in Yorkshire. Named after an Irish rebel Charles Stuart Parnell, Huddersfield born and bred, Parnell began his golfing career as a caddy and he soon fell in love with the game. He will succeed Beverly Lewis in 2007.