TOP-RATED coach John Eyre, the Crosland Heath professional, will be going ‘back home’ when he moves in as successor to Mike Higginbottom at Woodsome Hall.
Former Yorkshire PGA champion Higginbottom departs later this month after 14 years – he ‘resigned by mutual agreement’ in October, the club said – but Eyre won’t be moving to the Fenay Bridge club until March, when his contract at the Heath completes.
Eyre, 36, the professional at Crosland Heath since 2004, was the choice by Woodsome Hall at the head of a lengthy list of applicants whose quality impressed club officials. They were obviously impressed most by Eyre, coach to the Halifax, Huddersfield Union and a member of the Yorkshire county coaching panel.
Eyre said: “I had no thoughts about leaving Crosland Heath, who have been very good to me and where I have made lots of friends and had lots of happy times.
“But when this job came up I considered it another step forward in my career.
“When I got the job I was delighted. Woodsome Hall is a prestigious club, somewhat of a sleeping giant, and I'm excited about the role I will have there.”
His move will be a return to his roots as he was a junior member at Woodsome and Karl Scarr, the club pro then, gave him his first job as an assistant.
When Scarr moved to work in Germany, Eyre joined Parnell Reilly’s staff at Bradley Park, rose to become shop manager, then eventually took over running matters at the Heath, where Reilly, the current PGA captain, was in charge of the professional operation.
When that link ended, Eyre was appointed the Heath professional in his own right and has since advanced his reputation in every aspect of club pro, notably coaching in which his reputation has soared.
A major success of his has been the development of Heath’s former leading amateur Chris Hanson into one of the top players on the PGA EuroPro Tour and who Eyre feels will go on a higher plane.
Many Crosland Heath members are dismayed to be losing a popular professional. An ‘army’ of those who have coaching from Eyre, who employs all the latest teaching technology, are likely to continue seeing him at Woodsome, who have given permission for him to use club facilities to teach non-members.
But Eyre added: “Woodsome Hall members will be my priority at all times”.
Crosland Heath captain Andrew Denbigh-White said: “John has served us well and we are sorry to be losing him, but we wish him every success.
“We are in the process of finding a replacement, someone as good as he is. We have formed a sub-committee to deal with that.”
But Deana Rushworth, a qualified PGA professional who has been an assistant at Woodsome Hall for five years, was disappointed that her application for the professional’s job was not successful.
Deana, 29. was offered the opportunity to stay on working with Eyre but declined. She ended her duties at the club where she has been since junior membership days this week, but is staying on to complete teaching commitments until December 21.
“Then on January 2, I start a new job working with Parnell Reilly at Bradley Park,” she said.
Eyre added: “I asked Deana to stay. I thought she would be a great person to work with, but she felt that, not having got the job, she felt it was time to move on.”