HILLSIDE-BASED Paul Eales received a PGA Recognition Award for his outstanding contribution to golf at a PGA fundraising lunch held at Manchester’s Hilton Hotel.
Eales, 49, is a stalwart of the PGA North Region having enjoyed a wide-ranging career, excelling as a player, coach and also as a respected golf pundit with the BBC on both TV and radio.
He began his career as an assistant at Royal Lytham & St Annes under Eddie Birchenough but is now based at Hillside, which is more convenient for his coaching commitments.
As a player Eales graduated through the Challenge Tour to the European Tour where his career earnings totalled more than €£2m.
He played in seven Open Championships and one US Open and it was after missing the cut in 1996 at Royal Lytham that he was asked to be a summariser for the BBC. This led to a successful career behind the microphone.
A member of the European Tour board of directors, he is support coach to the England Golf U18 boys’ squad and lead coach for the England Golf North West squads for boys and girls aged 16-18.
“The award came out of the blue. I had been asked to do a Q&A but once I saw the award I was blown away. It is nice doing your day to day stuff and for your own Association to recognise that work,” said Eales, who was presented with his accolade by PGA vice-chairman John Heggarty.
“I have been very fortunate in that opportunities have come my way and as one door has shut another has opened.”
Eales is midway through a Post Graduate Diploma in Sport Pedagogy and as he nears 50 is once again looking at playing again on the European Seniors Tour.
“The Post Grad Diploma has been a real eye opener, learning how coaching is not just a case of ticking boxes but really finding out what individual needs are and working towards those goals,” he said.
“I’ve also got my 50th birthday just around the corner so I’ve got to keep playing but it’s a case of trying to find the time.”
PGA North Region secretary, Graham Maly, commented: “Paul has been an outstanding player and has also developed a successful career as a coach and as a media pundit. He is a credit to the PGA and richly deserves this recognition.”
Money raised from the lunch, where Premier League referee Howard Webb was a guest speaker, will help support the PGA Benevolent Fund, a charity set up to help PGA members in times of hardship.