Royal Liverpool head PGA Professional John Heggarty has received an early Christmas gift after being named PGA Captain-elect.
The 56 year old will take over the prestigious role when Nicky Lumb, who takes over from Neil Selwyn-Smith next year, completes his two year office in 2017.
It caps a memorable year for Heggarty with Hoylake having hosted the Open Championship earlier in the summer.
Heggarty, who became head pro at Hoylake at aged just 23, has served on PGA committees at county, regional and national level including two decades on the PGA board of directors.
He admitted the call from PGA chief executive Sandy Jones had come out of the blue.
“I was quietly getting on with my life, we’d had the Open this year which was pretty full on and I’d just started settling down and then I got the phone call from Sandy. It was both a surprise and something that didn’t take me long to accept,” said Heggarty who is a PGA Master Professional.
“I have been privileged to represent the members of Royal Liverpool as their professional for over 30 years and to now have the opportunity to represent the members of The Professional Golfers’ Association of Great Britain & Ireland is a wonderful honour having been closely involved with The PGA for an awful lot of years.
“Ultimately when you become captain of The PGA you are treading in the footsteps of PGA Professionals that are names from the history of the game so it is a tremendous honour.”
The Association’s first captain back in 1901 was the legendary James Braid – one of the Great Triumverate along with JH Taylor and Harry Vardon who each also captained The PGA. Other names to have held the role include Sir Henry Cotton, Abe Mitchell, Fred Daly, Dai Rees and Bernard Hunt.
“During my captaincy I will be very keen to reach out to as many of my fellow PGA Members as possible and I’m looking forward to representing The PGA to the best of my abilities,” added Heggarty.
Heggarty excelled at back stroke as a teenage swimmer but turned to golf with a rival swimmer and friend, and they played at Dumfries and County Golf Club.
Heggarty’s first assistant’s role was at Hayston Golf Club in Glasgow, later moving to Shaw Park Golf Club in Alloa before moving south to become an assistant to John Morgan at Royal Liverpool.
He then moved nearby after landing his first head pro job at Wirral Ladies Golf Club at the age of just 21.
But it wasn’t’ long before he was back at Royal Liverpool as head pro having impressed the club in his previous spell there.
PGA chief executive Sandy Jones added: “We are delighted to appoint John as captain of The PGA. He has given long and dedicated service to PGA at county, regional and national level and is also the highly respected PGA Professional at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.
“John has attained PGA Master Professional status and I’m sure will be a huge asset in the role of captain to The Professional Golfers’ Association.”