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Fab four earn highest PGA honour

9.59am 25th July 2018 - People

Four PGA Members who all went down different routes in the golf industry have attained the Association’s highest honour – the status of Master Professional.

Paul Gibbons, Mark Reeves, David Ridley and David Scott have joined a distinguished band that includes the late John Jacobs (OBE) as PGA Master Professionals. They were presented with a commemorative plaque by PGA captain John Heggarty at Carnoustie on the eve of the 2018 Open Championship.

Scott enjoyed Head Professional roles at Letham Grange Golf Resort, Arbroath and Balbirnie Park Golf Club, Glenrothes before becoming Director of Golf at Kingsbarns Golf Links. He played a pivotal role in transforming Kingsbarns into one of the best golf experiences in the world during the decade he was there.

His next role was joining The Duke’s Golf Course, St Andrews as General Manager. He spent five years in the role before taking on the Director of Operations at the 5* Old Course Hotel Golf Resort & Spa in St Andrews.

Scott said: “I have been most fortunate to have a number of career highlights as a PGA Member. Captaining the Scottish region being one and representing Great Britain & Ireland in the PGA Cup match against the USA way back in 1990 is another.

“I think being awarded Master Professional is the biggest highlight. When I look at the great names who have also been given this title, I am truly humbled to be mentioned alongside them. All through my career, being recognised as a PGA Member has been very important, and indeed, has opened doors along the way. It has allowed me to secure two of my biggest and most rewarding roles at Kingsbarns Golf Links and the position of Director of Operations at the Old Course Hotel.”

Gibbons joined the Association in 1982 and, after serving as an Assistant under the stewardship of Nicky Lumb at Filton Golf Club, Bristol, he knew his passion lay abroad and in wholesale and retail.

“I was always looking to do a deal rather than standing on the range teaching,” he recalled. “The diversification that brand development, wholesale and retail offered was both exciting and challenging, which required travel and interaction, both of which I love.”

A five-year spell at OLCO Sportbedarf, Heidelberg, Germany followed but it is south east Asia where Gibbons, who is managing director at MST Golf, Malaysia, has made his mark.

“I’ve been extremely fortunate to have travelled extensively and engaged with many talented people,” he added. “I hope to continue helping guide and influence others within the golf and sports industry, challenging themselves to their full potential.”

Ridley was an accomplished golfer who played in no fewer than five Open Championships but he was persuaded to into coaching by his former mentor, Bill Cox, a coach he describes as a father figure.

As a result, he opted for a more stable life by taking on a role head PGA Professional at Oakmere Park, Nottinghamshire, or ‘Oxton Golf Club’ as it was previously known, but it was at neighbouring Coxmoor Golf Club where he spent two decades as a much sought-after coach.

He became lead coach for the England Golf’s national team and he has also worked with top Ladies European Tour player Melissa Reid, two-time Senior major winner Paul Broadhurst, and 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett.

“I’m pleased, honoured and humbled to receive this award,” he said. “to join the list of recipients who I respect and I look forward to meeting them. Bill Cox was a huge influence in my career. He was so respected in the industry at the time as a coach. He was almost a father figure towards me. He made you stand and listen to him coach, he was that type of person.

“To see some of these young men like (Chris) Wood, Willett and (Andy) Sullivan progress like that have on the European Tour, that has been tremendous for me. Hopefully I’ve had an influence on them. The ones who come through always had a desire, they question you and they put in hard work, they had a desire to get better.”

Reeves began his diverse PGA career in 1988 as head professional at Basingstoke Golf Centre, Hampshire, before taking on his first golf club management position at nearby Dummer Golf Club. On turning 30, he headed overseas and worked at Hong Kong Jockey Club for the next 13 years.

A corporate role with the Haichang Group followed in 2008 and he is currently director for the BRG Group in Vietnam, heading up its golf and property sectors as well as PR and marketing. Reeves has also worked with some of the world’s leading golf course design firms, helping in the creation of 14 courses, including two in Hanoi and another in Danang.

“It’s always nice to be recognised and on this occasion,” he said. “I am humbled to join a list of industry peers that I greatly respect. The PGA brand and qualification has tremendous heritage and symbolises a person of proven integrity. It brings with it trust and respect from leaders and peers and carries an exclusive status worldwide.”

“The initials PGA have been as important to me as ‘By Royal Appointment’ is to a branded commodity. It’s immediately associated with quality and in this instance strong playing, teaching and golf management skills.”

Pictured: Mark Reeves is presented with a commemorative plaque by PGA captain John Heggarty (top); Paul Gibbons is presented with a commemorative plaque by PGA captain John Heggarty (below)

PGA News www.pga.info

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