ASIAN GOLF INDUSTRY FEDERATION

Laugher Becomes PGA of GB&I’s 84th Captain

Peter Laugher, the PGA of Great Britain & Ireland’s 84th Captain. Picture by PGA of GB&I.

Birmingham, England: Peter Laugher is still coming to terms with the unexpected honour of becoming the PGA of Great Britain & Ireland’s 84th Captain and joining a list that reads like an abridged Who’s Who of GB&I golf.

Laugher succeeded Tim Rouse at the Association’s Annual General Meeting this week and follows such golfing luminaries as the PGA’s co-founders, JH Taylor, James Braid and Harry Vardon, Open champions Sir Henry Cotton and Max Faulkner, as well as Peter Alliss and three-time Ryder Cup Captain Bernard Gallacher.

The 66-year-old was invited to take on the ambassadorial role by Alan White, the Association’s Chairman, in August 2022, but 20 months on is still expecting to be tapped on the shoulder and told he’s the victim of mistaken identity. Either that or it transpires the unexpected call from White turns out to be a dream.

Laugher said: “It’s a huge honour and a totally unexpected one. Given the golfing legends who have been Captain, I still haven’t got over being offered it and am still pinching myself.

“In fact, the speech I’ve written for next month’s PGA’s Graduation Day includes the line: Some of you may be wondering why I am here because I certainly am!”

For PGA of GB&I Chief Executive Robert Maxfield, however, Laugher’s appointment is well-deserved, not least because of the voluntary work he has done to help his fellow Members and promote the Association throughout his career.

“Peter has served on numerous PGA committees since the time he was an Assistant professional,” said Maxfield. “In doing so, he has earned a well-deserved reputation among his peers for giving back to the game and looking after their interests. I believe he will be an excellent ambassador for the Association in the role over the next 12 months.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Peter’s predecessor Tim Rouse for the work, effort and enthusiasm he put into the role for the past year.”

Reflecting on Laugher’s appointment, White added: “The Captain is the face of the Association for the time he or she is in post and Peter is the epitome of a PGA Professional.

“He’s hard-working, very skilled, and knowledgeable in the business of golf and always has a smile on his face. He will be a credit to the Association during and after his captaincy.”

Laugher’s appointment as PGA Captain is the culmination of a career that almost ended before it began when, earning some pocket money as a teenage caddie, he got a fit of the giggles when his client had an air shot on the first tee.

“My introduction to golf started with me going caddying with my next-door-neighbour,” he recalled. “He had the big bag, was wearing a fancy sweater and, standing on the first tee, he swung and missed. And I laughed.

“He asked me what I was laughing at and if I thought it was easy to hit the ball. I said it can’t be that difficult because the ball was stationery. So, he told me to have a go and I swung and missed!”

Laugher went on to borrow the neighbour’s clubs to practise and, falling in love with the game, started having lessons with Frank Accleton, the pro at Rochdale Golf Club, Lancashire.

Accleton suggested Laugher should turn pro and employed him as his assistant before his protégé joined PGA Master Professional Howard Bennett at nearby Duxbury Park.

Laugher cites Accleton and Bennett as having the biggest influences on his career, and it was the latter who encouraged him to get involved with The PGA and representing its Members.

“Howard was going to the Lancashire PGA’s AGM on one occasion and said I should go with him,” he explained. “When we got there, they were looking for an Assistants’ representative on committee and Howard nominated me.

“He told me it’s always a good thing to put something back, and from that day in 1980 I served on PGA committees until 2013.”

Much of that committee work was carried out in the PGA’s West Region during Laugher’s spells as Director of Golf at Dartmouth Golf and Country Club and Head Pro at Thurlestone Golf Club.

He played a key role in founding the PGA in Devon and served as the West Region’s chairman for eight years before standing down in 2013 to concentrate on his role as Director of Golf at Woodbury Park near Exeter.

Now, having retired last August, he is set to represent PGA Members once again. This time as their Captain.

“It’s a role I’m looking forward to immensely, especially meeting Members during Graduation and at the tournaments I will attend during the year,” he added. “That includes the PGA Cup in Oregon, which will be fantastic. There’s also the annual PGA lunch to attend – there’s plenty to do.

“There will also be plenty of speeches to make – coincidentally, when I speak at Graduation it will be 50 years to the week when I entered registration as an Assistant.

“And the date I become Captain would have been my late mother’s 99th birthday. One hopes she and my dad get the opportunity to look down as they would be very proud. I certainly am.

“I always thought the proudest thing I could ever do would be to play for my country, but I’ve never achieved that. It never occurred to me this might be possible, and I suppose captaining my Association eclipses playing for my country.”

*The PGA of Great Britain & Ireland is an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.

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