Ben Wilkinson, an assistant professional at Royal Winchester Golf Club, has been named the Titleist PGA Rookie of the Year after finally settling on golf as his main sport.
In recognition of his achievement, Wilkinson collected the Major John Bywaters Trophy and a cheque for £1,000 from Jeremy Tomlinson, managing director Acushnet EMEA, and PGA Master Professional Denis Pugh, the guest of honour at the PGA Graduation Ceremony held at the University of Birmingham.
Wilkinson, who came top of the Year One assistant professionals taking the PGA Foundation Degree course has been under the tutelage of several PGA coaches including Chris Kilgannon, a senior teaching professional at Hockley Golf.
“He’s the one I’ve stuck with,” said Wilkinson who won the first pro-am he played in at Romsey Golf Club. I turned professional in October 2015 but did not play any events in the winter because I had a lot of studying to complete.”
It’s still early days yet as he commits himself to the three-year PGA course so he’s unsure how his career will evolve. “I’ve always had the attitude that so long as I’m playing I’ll be happy,” he said. “If that means becoming a full-time player or earning some money coaching then that will be fine.”
Wilkinson, who played off one before turning pro, admitted: “I play much better as a pro than I did as an amateur worrying about my handicap going up or down! I feel very honoured to receive the Titleist PGA Rookie of the Year award. My goal was to aim for it and so I made sure I gave it my best shot.”
The PGA Training Programme, encompassing the three year Foundation Degree, was founded more than 50 years ago and covers all aspects of golf including business, equipment technology and repairs, rules and tournament organisation, sports science and sports psychology.