Retired club pro Parnell Reilly will chalk up a unique feat in April when he takes over as captain at Huddersfield Golf Club.
The 66 year old has been granted the honour of captaining the historic Fixby Hall club in its 125th anniversary year. His appointment is also evidence of just how far the stock of the modern PGA Professional has risen – given than not too many decades ago few were even allowed in the clubhouse.
The captaincy at Fixby Hall is especially poignant for Reilly who caddied there as a young boy for a few shillings a round.
“Fixby is the place where it all started for me as a caddie when I was a lad and without caddying at Fixby there is no way I would have got into golf so it’s a very special place for me,” said former PGA captain Reilly.
Up until last year he presided over the successful rise of the Huddersfield municipal course, Bradley Park Golf Club, which he built up over 33 years until his retirement.
But if his retirement has afforded more time, then captaining Fixby in such an auspice year in its history means he will definitely need it.
He assumes captaincy on 2nd April when he will have the added pressure of the traditional captain’s drive-in using a hickory driver dressed in costume of the day circa late 1890s.
“We’re having a hickory day where everybody is going to dress up in period costume,” added Reilly who is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Huddersfield University and also a PGA Advanced Fellow Professional.
“We’ve got 100 sets of hickory shafts and I’ll have to hit the first drive with a hickory club so I’ll be getting some practice in.”
Another highlight is set to be a past PGA captains pro-am in June which will raise funds for the PGA Benevolent Fund which helps PGA Members fallen on hard times.
There will also be fireworks on Saturday, May 28, when Huddersfield Golf Club joins forces with Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra – which is also celebrating its 125th anniversary – to stage an Orchestral Fireworks in the Park.
Reilly captained the PGA from 2007-2009, officiating at two Ryder Cups, at The K Club and Valhalla, while in the build up to the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor took part in a week long whistle-stop helicopter tour of Wales, dropping into 120 Welsh courses with the Ryder Cup trophy.
In 2011 he also undertook a secret morale-boosting trip to the troops in Afghanistan with Colin Montgomerie and then PGA captain Eddie Bullock.
Huddersfield Golf Club http://www.huddersfield-golf.co.uk