Nigel Edwards, the victorious Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup captain, will be the director of coaching for the English Golf Union.
The 43-year-old Welshman is giving up his job as the director of player development and coaching with the Golf Union of Wales, a position he’s held for the past 10 years.
Edwards follows Sweden’s Peter Mattsson to the EGU’s headquarters in Woodhall Spa, England. Mattsson is leaving the EGU to return to Sweden to become the director of elite performance for Swedish Sports.
Edwards guided GB&I to a 15-13 victory over the U.S. at Royal Aberdeen in September. He played on four Walker Cup teams from 2001 to ’07, winning twice and losing twice. Indeed, he holds the record for most appearances by a Welshman in the biennial match.
“I am sorry to be leaving Wales, but I feel we have developed a structure which will continue to benefit Welsh golf,” Edwards said. “There are more players and a bigger budget in England, so it is a great career opportunity. I think I can really make an impact there with the skills I have already developed.
Edwards intends to build on the success of English golf.
“All you have to do is look at someone like Tom Lewis, who was part of our winning Walker Cup team and has already won a European Tour event,” said Edwards, noting the rookie English pro who won the Portugal Masters last weekend. “However my aim is to make an even greater contribution there, too.”
The EGU supports its golf teams through lottery funds from Sport England. Its elite team has been in operation for more than 10 years, and it sends players around the world during the winter as well as funding them to play full-time amateur golf during the British summer season. Other players to graduate from the EGU elite system besides Lewis include European Tour players Ross Fisher, Oliver Fisher, Richard Finch, David Horsey, Gary Boyd and Chris Wood.
“We are really pleased to be welcoming Nigel to England and the EGU,” said John Petrie, the EGU’s chief executive. “His playing record in the amateur game speaks for itself, and he has also done some impressive work in changing the structures in Welsh golf, developing the academy system throughout Wales and putting a regional coaching system in place to identify and develop talent.
“The level of amateur golf in England is exceptionally high, and therefore we were looking for an extraordinarily high-caliber candidate to fill this vacancy. Nigel’s experience both on and off the course is outstanding, and we are looking forward to working with him and continuing to develop the success of English golf.”
Edwards will join the EGU in early 2012.