New Hampshire PGA captain set for office

Eddy Rawlings
Eddy Rawlings
Scott Gregory. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Eddy Rawlings has spoken of the honour of becoming the Hampshire PGA captain for 2011 and has outlined his hopes for the forthcoming term.

The Southwick Park professional succeeds Southwood’s Chris Hudson in the top job as of March 9 at South Winchester, when Rawlings will officially take up office.

Lee-on-the-Solent’s former Ryder Cup star Steve Richardson has been named as his vice captain but Rawlings is determined to make the best use of his position in a bid to get more people involved in the sport.

The 41-year-old explained: ‘You get asked to do it and it’s a fantastic honour, but there is a big responsibility as well to get as many golfers out there in the region as possible.

‘Promoting Hampshire golf is a big responsibility of mine and there are so many events and charity days.

‘But the duties are quite varied and I’m looking forward to playing a lot of events this year and throwing myself into the role.

‘Ideally, you want to get the youngsters interested in the game and maybe tempt a few adults who have never given it a go before and get them bitten by the bug.

‘Too many youngsters are happy to sit at home on their computers these days and it would be nice to get the message to a few of them.

‘Some people still think that golf is expensive but it can be as cheap as you want it to be and we have some fantastic courses around our region.

‘We have a junior academy down here we are promoting and we’ve got some open days coming up over the next month or so.

‘Hopefully, some new players will want to give it a go.’

Rawlings moved to the region in 2003 after stints in Holland and Hertfordshire, while he also played on both the Challenge Tour and Asian Tour.

But he has since shifted his focus towards teaching

He said: ‘I’ve been involved with county coaching, I’ve done teaching at various venues and I’ve been at Southwick Park for four-and-a-half years now.

‘I absolutely love teaching but I still play as much as I can in Hampshire.

‘I probably didn’t fulfil my potential on tour but so much of it is down to the mental side of the game.

‘It was a case of being close but no cigar.

‘At the time, I had a young family over here and I was missing out on that.

‘I thought if I hit the big time, they could travel with me, but I didn’t reach those heights and you start thinking “is it really worth it?”

‘So in the end, it was a financial decision.

‘There are still some guys who I played against and they are still doing it.

‘You wonder how they can make a living from it when it costs around £50,000 per season just on expenses.’

Rawlings has nominated Rowan’s Hospice and the Make A Wish Foundation as his chosen charities for the year but he admits he is wary about one part of next month’s traditional ceremony at the captain’s inauguration.

He smiled: ‘I’ve got to hit a tee shot with a 100-year-old driver as part of the driving-in ceremony.

‘I’m just hoping I don’t break it!’