BOWOOD teaching professional Simon Shanks has been named coach of the year by the PGA of England and Wales (South West) in the annual awards ceremony at the regional headquarters Woodbury Park in Devon, writes PETER GODSIFF.

Formerly at West Wilts and Kingsdown, Shanks, who writes a golf tips column for both the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald and Wiltshire Times, earned double distinction in 2013 when two of his pupils earned national honours.

His fellow Bowood professional Nick Brennan represented the PGA in the biennial match against the United States, achieving a significant singles win.

Leading Bowood amateur Jordan Smith played regularly for England, won the Brabazon Trophy, and was selected for the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team against the United States.

Shanks, the Wiltshire PGA secretary, is an England Golf Academy coach, head coach to both the Wiltshire Boys and Wiltshire College Golf Academy, and has more than ten years’ experience.

Over the past five years he has also coached players to success in county championships, boy’s county championships and into the final of the Faldo series four years in a row.

Former Cirencester assistant Gareth Bennett (Cottrell Park) was named charity fundraiser of the year. He ran the London Marathon in 4 hours 9 minutes and the Cardiff half marathon in 1 hour 46 minutes.

He has undertaken many fundraising activities in his club to raise money for Garrison Girls, a charity that raises money for the victims and families of soldiers suffering from the unseen injuries of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The captain’s player of the year was the easiest decision Peter Laugher (Woodbury Park) had to make during his year of office. Liam Bond (Marriott St Pierre) won four of the seven Race to Woodbury Park events and also led the European Tour Wales Open at Celtic Manor at the halfway stage.

He holed an eagle putt to claim the final spot in this year’s BMW PGA Championship via the PGA Playoffs and finished his season with a stroke average of 70.2

Nigel Bicknell, who retired as Truro professional after 40 years, was named the PGA professional of the year.

Bristol Golf Centre’s Chris Moon won the TGI Partnership award as the best third year assistant. Celtic Manor Resort’s Joe Ferguson won the second year prize and Bristol and Clifton’s Andrew McGreevy was chosen as the best first year assistant.

Cennydd Mills (Pyle and Kenfig) won the Blenkarne Cup as the leading assistant professional for his achievements in training, development work and success in tournaments. 

Rhondda Golf Club’s David Pocock was named development professional of the year after he received eight nominations.