A Midland PGA professional inspired to take up golf after seeing Sir Henry Cotton play will follow in the footsteps of the legendary Open champion after being named captain-elect of The Professional Golfers’ Association.
Neil Selwyn-Smith will take on that role from April this year before being given the prestigious role of PGA Captain in 2013. The honour caps a wide-ranging and successful career for the 64-year-old that has covered all aspects of the golf industry from club professional through to coaching, corporate golf entertainment and lecturing on the sport.
“Being asked to be PGA captain took me completely by surprise but I’m deeply honoured and very excited at the prospect of being captain-elect to Eddie Bullock and then captain for 2013-2015,” said Selwyn-Smith.
“I’ve had a lifelong love of the game and been fortunate that I have always been able to do for a living something I love doing. I’ve always been very proud to be a member of the PGA – 48 years – and it’s led to developing some lasting friendships.”
Bromsgrove-based Selwyn-Smith, who last year achieved PGA Master Professional status, runs Golf by Design Ltd, a thriving corporate golf business which each year charters a train to take clients to the Open Championship.
He also still coaches while he is familiar to hundreds of young aspiring professionals as a PGA tutor and also as a lecturer on the Applied Golf Management Studies degree at the University of Birmingham.
Selwyn-Smith revealed he was bitten by the golfing bug in 1959 when as reward for helping a neighbour dig a ditch during the summer holidays near his Kings Heath home in Birmingham, he was taken to the Swallow-Penfold Tournament at Copt Heath where great names of the day were in action including newly-crowned Open champion Gary Player and Cotton – a three-time Open champion and twice a PGA captain.
“I was hooked from that moment on,” said Selwyn-Smith, who obtained his first post at Cocks Moors Woods at aged 16.
In 1969 he became head professional at Edgbaston Golf Club where he stayed until 1984 before branching out into corporate golf and also golf driving range and course architecture including designing and building Henley in Arden Golf Club in the early 90s.
A well-known figure in the Midlands, he has been both captain and chairman of the region and is secretary of the Warwickshire PGA as well as club and coach co-ordinator for the Warwickshire County Golf Partnership.
PGA chief executive Sandy Jones said: “I’m delighted that Neil has accepted the invitation of the members to be the captain-elect and ultimately captain in 2013.
“Neil has been a long-standing member of the Association and has accomplished many things in the game. Last year he was given the accolade of PGA Master Professional – a recognition given only to a few and now he has achieved the position of captain – a recognition achieved by even fewer.
“I look forward very much to working with Neil in his term of office.”
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