Nigel Edwards: Dragon meets Red RoseJanuary 16, 2012 Golf News
Walker Cup winning captain on his new role with the English Golf Union
What will the new role entail?
It will be managing the coaching and performance programme. So ensuring that the best structure is put in place, that opportunities are provided by the England Golf partnership, working with the county unions and working the coaches and managers.
It also includes developing relationships with management companies, equipment manufacturers, working with the PGA and making sure appropriate coaches are familiar with the plan.
How different is it from your role with the Welsh Union?
It will be managing more people and I will be less hands-on with the players, especially at the lower level. I will be managing the structure but there are people in place to do that whereas in Wales I would have to go out to the regional academies.
And, presumably, working with a bigger budget?
In Wales there are 60,000 golfers, male and female, in total while in England there are approaching a million male golfers. So there is a bigger pool, budget and, in theory, opportunities.
Clearly the way I managed the players, not just at the Walker Cup but in the two years before the matches, helped. Have you had much stick from your Welsh mates?
I get stick off them whatever I do! Everybody realises it is a great career opportunity and I think the majority think I have done a decent job in working with our coaches in setting up a quality academy and coaching structure.
What are you most proud of from your role in Wales?
I had two different jobs. Up until 2007 I used to run the championships and was in and out on the performance side and after that I looked after the player development and coaching. My heart is in the performance side and the biggest thing was putting together a system that players can engage in at a younger level.
How many interviews did you have?
I had a preliminary interview in August. The same day I had another interview an hour later where I had to do a presentation with the director of coaching, the senior coach and the England team manager. Then a follow-up interview after the Walker Cup.
How key was winning the Walker Cup in getting the job?
Clearly the way I managed the players, not just at the Walker Cup but in the two years before the matches, helped. So they saw me in two different environments. I would like to think my skills that I showed working for the Welsh Union played a big part but I’m not daft and the timing of the Walker Cup couldn’t have been better.
How will the EGU and EWGA’s recent merger affect the coaching implications?
They will run as it currently is for next year and then a decision will be made. It is still very early days. They have different structures, they don’t have the same number of counties or the same coaching set-up so we will have to wait and see.