Phil Kenyon, putting coach to some of the world’s top golfers, has become the latest winner of the PGAS of Europe prestigious John Jacobs Award for Teaching & Coaching.
Kenyon was nominated by the PGA in England and Wales’ North Region committee and selected by the awards panel in recognition of his continued success working with some of the current generation of tour stars, including Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Thomas Björn, and Louis Oosthuizen, to name just a few.
“It is obviously a great honour – John Jacobs is a pioneer of golf coaching so to be even just associated with John is fantastic,” said Kenyon during his acceptance speech shown at the 2018 Annual Congress Gala Awards Dinner held at Costa Navarino in Greece. “In particular, it is a great honour for me as well, because Harold Swash, who has been my mentor, was really good friends with John. I know they had a great relationship, so I would like to dedicate this award to Harold.”
The John Jacobs Award is the PGAs of Europe’s highest coaching accolade and is presented to a PGA Professional who has excelled as a golf coach at all levels of the game, be it with elite or beginner players alike across a number of years.
Previous winners of the award have included Shane Lowry’s coach, Neil Manchip; Michael Bannon, coach of Rory McIlroy; Salvador Luna, coach of Sergio Garcia; Mike Walker, coach to seven of the 2016 Ryder Cup Europe team; and last year’s winner, Jamie Gough, who coaches Andy Sullivan and Brandon Stone.
Kenyon added: “Jamie [Gough] and Mike [Walker] are really good friends of mine. I know them both from my travels on tour. Jamie is one of the hardest workers out there and he’s had great success with his students. Mike is a great coach too, so to follow in their footsteps is great for me.”
Having been introduced to the game by his parents, and playing at a high amateur level, Kenyon concentrated on his academic studies before turning professional, completing an undergraduate degree in psychology and sports science and a Masters degree in sport science at Liverpool John Moores University.
After competing worldwide as a tournament professional on developmental tours, he decided to go into coaching and began his PGA of Great Britain & Ireland training. Having known and worked with the legendary putting expert, Harold Swash, for a number of years, Kenyon was able to absorb much of his knowledge, shadowing him in his work with many of the top players of that time, enabling up close and personal experience of dealing with top level players in that side of coaching.
Since Swash’s passing Kenyon has taken on the Swash Putting business and works out of the Putting Solutions studio at Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa, as well as at sites in Lancashire and in Georgia, USA.
His continually evolving client list now reads as a who’s who of the golf world, with numerous major winners, Ryder Cup players, European and Challenge Tour winners, Race to Dubai champions, as well as English, Scottish, and Spanish national squads, all of which has contributed to his recent acknowledgement as a Master Professional by the PGA of GB&I.
Notably he has worked for a number of years with 2018 Open Champion Francesco Molinari, as well as the other half of ‘Moliwood’ and another European Tour Race to Dubai champion, Tommy Fleetwood.
“There’s many things that I’ve enjoyed, and got a lot of satisfaction from, in my career,” added Kenyon. “Being involved with guys that have won majors – Darren Clarke, Henrik Stenson, Francesco Molinari – have been great experiences. I’ve really enjoyed the Ryder Cups that I have been involved with as well. But I just enjoy working in golf, and week to week there are highlights for me. Helping players have good tournaments or keeping their tour card, or simply helping aspiring amateurs knock shots off their handicaps – I enjoy it all really and I am very lucky in that respect.”