Andre Bell has turned his ‘dream board’ into reality after achieving his goal of becoming the Titleist PGA Assistant of the Year and the former Jersey banker’s aspirations continue to come true having swapped the Channel Island for the humid climes of Bangkok.
But the 41-year-old was back in the UK on Friday to collect the prestigious Whitcombe Cox Trophy and a cheque for £3,500 from England football legend Sir Trevor Brooking, who was the guest of honour at the PGA Graduation Ceremony held at the University of Birmingham.
Bell, who will also receive a set of Titleist clubs, was overwhelmed by his success as he looked to follow up being top of the pile 12 months earlier.
“It’s fantastic to achieve this, especially in terms of all the hard work paying off,” he said. “When I got the news I reflected on the three years and how many others have also helped along the way, friends and family, Mike and Jenny at La Moye Golf Club, Michelle Hill at the PGA and others to get me to the top.
“It is a great feeling. Being the top assistant was pinned on my dream board, where I put the goals down I want to achieve. I have got one of them.”
Having being given the opportunity to switch careers and the join the 7,000-plus PGA professionals working in the golf industry across the world, Bell is already making the most of his career by moving to the Far East – one of 1,600 PGA members employed in more than 70 countries worldwide.
“I am indebted to the support and opportunity I had from all at La Moye but you have to keep pushing on,” he added. “I came out here at the beginning of the year to have a go at Asian Tour School and though that didn’t work out, I decided to stay out here and continue my career.
“I’ve got a new position with Wilding Golf, which has a number of centres in Bangkok and about 25 pros from across the world.
“It’s an exciting time. The Foundation Degree has given me a solid platform to build on but I know you can’t expect everything to be done for you and that you have to make your own choices and follow your dreams.
“I’m out in the Far East where golf is growing, particularly in China and Malaysia. It’s really going to be big in the next 10 years and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”
The PGA training programme, which was founded more than 50 years ago, concentrates on all aspects of golf including business, equipment technology and repairs, rules and tournament organisation, sports science, sports psychology and playing.
Training and education remains an integral part of the PGA with the foundation degree, while the PGA also runs an honours degree in association with the University of Birmingham.
Once qualified, PGA members also undergo a process of lifelong learning to keep them up to speed with all the latest developments in the sport.
PGA chief executive Sandy Jones said: “The PGA Graduation Ceremony at the Great Hall of the University of Birmingham has now earned its place as one of the most enjoyable and inspirational days in the PGA calendar. On this day we are able to celebrate men and women completing their PGA training programme and becoming qualified as the next generation of PGA members.
“I always feel enormously proud of these graduates as I know they have all worked extremely diligently during their training years to achieve their PGA qualification.
“Of course the graduation day will not be the end of the story but only the opening to the next chapter of their career as a PGA professional. At this time golf is expanding across new frontiers throughout the world and it will indeed be many of today’s graduates who will take the game forward and successfully grow it within these new territories around the globe.
“They should all feel rightly proud to have successfully completed their PGA training programme which in the eyes of many is the best in the world and they can now go forward confidently with the PGA stamp of approval on their golfing passport which will take them wherever they wish in their careers. I wish them all good luck and success wherever they travel.”
Ken Graham, Titleist director of sales, said: “We are pleased to continue our support of the Titleist PGA Assistant of the Year award, recognising this as a starting point of the PGA’s commitment to provide its members with a framework for lifelong learning.
“PGA professionals play a key role in the development and growth of the game across all levels, and we are delighted to support the next generation of qualified professionals and to wish them well with their future careers.”
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