The Professional Golfer’s Association has appointed Northern Irishman Peter Hanna as its new captain.
Hanna, from Lurgan Golf Club, succeeds Royal Liverpool’s John Heggarty as the Association’s captain and will take up the ambassadorial role from 2019 until 2021.
Born and raised in Lurgan, County Armagh, Hanna, 60, has served on various regional, Irish and national committees for the best of two decades, including two stints on the PGA Board. He was also the PGA in Ireland region captain in 2000. His elevation to the PGA Captaincy for a two-year term lifts him into exalted company alongside Fred Daly (1947-48) and Ernie Jones (1991-93) as only the third Irishman to take on the role.
Asked about his new role, Hanna said: “When Sandy Jones rang me to offer me the position it was a major shock. In fact, when I saw his number come up on my phone, I immediately thought, ‘what have I done wrong now?’ It just proves to people what can be achieved by putting in the time and effort.”
A talented golfer, Hanna represented Ireland as a amateur at boys level before turning professional aged just 17. He progressed to the European Tour and spent a couple of seasons competing (1979-81), before he found his true calling lay in coaching.
“I was lucky enough in that I did my training with Seamus Greene at Knock GC and he didn’t play much, so I was able to play in the regional events. I qualified while at Knock and spent a couple of years attached to the club. I also started doing a bit of coaching at a driving range,” said Hanna.
In 1986, he was appointed to the position of club professional at Fortwilliam Golf Club in Belfast and spent the next 24 years there before heading back ‘home’ to Lurgan Golf Club in 2010, where he has been Head Professional ever since.
“In the back of my mind I thought that heading back to Lurgan might give me the chance to wind down a bit, I’m not that type of person,” he said. “I wasn’t going to just sit and let it tick along. We updated the shop, and there’s been a driving range built. We’re now a regional coaching centre for the GUI and there are so many youngsters playing here. Lurgan really is in my heart and I want it to be successful.”
Robert Maxfield, chief executive of The PGA, welcomed Hanna as the Association’s 80th captain, while also paying tribute to the outgoing captain, John Heggarty.
He said: “We are delighted to welcome Peter in joining a special band of PGA Professionals who have the honour of becoming captain of The PGA and only the third Irish PGA Member to take up the position as Captain of the Association.
“Peter is a well-respected PGA Professional who will be an excellent ambassador for the Association over the next two years. He has served the Association at committee level both regionally and nationally and will prove to be a very popular captain just like his predecessor John Heggarty.”