Mitchell celebrates being named West Region PGA coach of the year
PAUL Mitchell, the man who has masterminded Chris Wood's climb up the international golf ladder, has been chosen as the West Region PGA coach of the year for 2012.
The award was made to the Bristol and Clifton head professional Mitchell, pictured, at the West's annual meeting at the regional headquarters Woodbury Park in Devon this week.
As he is accompanying Wood at the Cadillac world golf tournament in Miami this week the award was received on his behalf by West Region chairman David Haines, the Brean Golf Club professional.
The regional committee, who picked the winner, praised Mitchell for his work with Wood, Chris Lloyd (Kendleshire) who obtained his European Tour card this season, and Laurie Canter (Saltford) who has won a card in the Sunshine Tour in South Africa.
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His work developing opportunities for young people to start the game and his flourishing junior programme were also factors taken into consideration by the committee.
Mitchell, who comes from Cinderford in the Forest of Dean, is also the Gloucestershire County Gold Squad coach. He became a member of the Forest of Dean Golf Club at 13 and was club champion by the time he was 16. He became the youngest head professional at a West Country golf club almost 11 years ago. He was just 25 when he succeeded Peter Mawson after spending seven years as his assistant.
Coaching has always been his forte and he first encouraged Wood from the next-door Long Ashton club when he was 14 and a member of the Gloucestershire junior squad. Since then he has coached Wood to international success.
Wood twice came close to winning The Open and achieved his first European Tour victory in Abu Dhabi in January after success in Thailand last year.
Mitchell's skills have also helped another Bristolian Chris Lloyd attain a full European Tour card and Bath-based Laurie Canter to qualify for this year's Sunshine Tour.
Thornbury Golf Centre's Lee Marshall won the TGI Partnership assistant of the year title for the third successive time in his final year as a PGA trainee. The leading first year assistant was Michael Bolt from Playgolf, Bournemouth, while John Morgan from Saunton Golf Club was the leading second year assistant.
Marshall also shared the Blenkarne Cup with Fern Grimshaw of the Wessex Golf Centre, Weymouth. The award was first made in 1986 by Bristolian Nigel Blenkarne, the present director of golf at Bigbury Golf Club, to recognise the leading assistants for their achievements in training, development work and performances in tournaments.
Not only was Marshall the leading West assistant in every year of his training, he has finished second in the national Titleist Trainee of the Year Awards.
Grimshaw made history by becoming the first woman to win a Regional Assistants Championship when she claimed the PGA West Region title.
Richard Coffin, from Vivary Park Golf Club, is the year's charity fundraiser.
He climbed three of the UK's highest peaks in one day in order to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. Despite this effort, he still found time to strike a golf ball off Ben Nevis, Scarfell Pike and Mount Snowdon.
Recently retired Barry Sandry, from the Broome Manor Golf Complex at Swindon, who played a leading role in Ryder Cup player David Howell's early progress, was named professional of the year.
David Parsons, the Bridport and West Dorset Golf Club professional, was named development professional of the year.