Alex Mollin was leading lady on an historic day at the University of Birmingham, in which female golfers took the top three places in The PGA’s annual graduation ceremony for the first time.
|Left to right: Alex Mollin, Kelly Hanwell and Emma Fairnie.
The Jersey based 35-year-old said she was “honoured” to collect the Whitcombe Cox Trophy for the highest placed year three assistant from Titleist brand director Matthew Johnson and Beverly Lewis, the first female PGA captain, who was the special guest. Her achievement was also marked with a cheque for £3,500.
Gullane Golf Club's Emma Fairnie was runner up with Kelly Hanwell of Al Badia Golf Club in Dubai coming third.
Meanwhile Mollin capped a successful year by also winning the Ladies European Tour award in honour of her hard work and dedication in completing the course, while her efforts were further recognised as she was named the top performing year three GASP-accredited coach.
Also picking up awards were Burford Golf Club’s Richard Talboys who collected the Lord Derby trophy as leading Year Two assistant while Keir McNicoll from Gullane Golf Club received the Major John Bywater trophy for being top Rookie Assistant of the Year.
For Les Mielles assistant PGA Professional, Mollin, the awards add extra gloss to an impressive start to her professional career, having also taken top honours in both her first and second years and excelled at Les Mielles Golf & Country Club.
“I feel incredibly proud to have done it,” Mollin enthused. “When I won Rookie of the Year it gave me belief to go on and try to follow that up. There’s no secret, I just worked really, really hard to achieve this.
“There was huge pressure coming into the third year having won years one and two. It was a case of maintaining that as I didn’t want to fall at the last hurdle. It was huge relief when I got the results.
“I’m still carrying on studying as I am doing the advanced certificate in golf coaching, which I am hoping to complete in July. I’m looking to develop as a coach and I am considering doing a postgraduate diploma and maybe a masters in coaching.”
As Mollin now looks to develop her own career, she hopes her successes can provide the motivation for other female golfers to take their first steps towards a career in the sport.
“I’ve set up my own Jersey Golf Coaching and that is going really well,” she explained. I know a number of past winners have used the success to expand their horizons and go off working across the world, but that’s not my focus at the moment. I’m looking at developing what I’ve set up and building on it.”
The PGA training programme, which was founded more than 50 years ago, concentrates on all aspects of golf including business, equipment technology and repairs, rules and tournament organisation, sports science, sports psychology and competing in tournaments.
Sandy Jones, chief executive of the PGA, said: “PGA graduation day is certainly one of the highlights of our golfing calendar and this year it is very much a year for the women.
“Each year at graduation I always wonder what the future holds for the graduates and where life will take them now that they have the PGA qualification.
“Certainly for the women, the world is their oyster and they become a great asset to the game with their invaluable ability to assist us in growing the game across the globe.
“The success of these three graduates will also be an inspiration to new women golfers and it has long been an ambition of the Association to not just attract more female golfers into the game but also to bring more women into the profession.
“I also of course congratulate each and every one of our new graduates and wish them well wherever their career takes them. I know they will all be outstandingly successful.”
Matthew Johnson, Titleist brand director, added: “We are pleased to continue our support of the Titleist PGA Assistant of the Year award, recognising this as a starting point of the PGA's commitment to provide its members with a framework for lifelong learning.
“PGA professionals play a key role in the development and growth of the game across all levels, and we are delighted to support the next generation of qualified professionals and to wish them well with their future careers.”
Ivan Peter Khodabakhsh, Chief Executive Officer of the Ladies European Tour, commented: “This is another significant year for The PGA as for the first time the top three graduates in the final year are all women. We would like to congratulate all of the winners and particularly Alex Mollin, the recipient of the LET award, for completing the treble having also won in years one and two.
“This award recognises her hard work and dedication to the course, but is also a testament to the inspirational PGA Professionals who provide such invaluable training at all levels of the sport.”