Roy Holland has returned to Somerset after an exciting international adventure which he will never forget for many reasons, writes Peter Godsiff.
The former teaching professional at Long Ashton has been appointed head professional at Cricket St Thomas Golf Club, near Chard.
Previous pro Paul Fiddes moved to Hartbourne Country Club last year.
Holland, 39, who played successfully in the West Region, won his last pro-am eight years ago when he returned to The Mendip, the club where he learned to play.
He ran a golf travel company based in Portugal but was then offered a deal he could not refuse. A South Korean businessman asked him to look after a dozen promising teenage South Korean golfers.
He travelled all over the Far East with his players and acted as caddy as well as coach to Minkyu Kim who won the D+D REAL Czech Challenge last summer. This etched his name into the record books as the youngest winner in European Tour and European Challenge Tour history. At 17 years and 64 days, he eclipsed the previous mark of 17 years and 188 days set by Italy’s Matteo Manassero.
But the relationship with the family faltered, there were financial problems and Holland was left being owed a large sum of money.
“I learned from it,” he said. “I was too trusting and this even cost me my fiancée.”
On returning to this country after three years he initially joined Hedge End at Southampton.
Holland, who qualified under Alex Murray at Tall Pines, worked at Addington Court at Croydon and was Mike Hart’s teaching professional at Long Ashton for a decade.
He still follows the young Korean’s progress as he is convinced he will become a world-beater. “He can become a real star,” he said. “It’s just a pity I am not involved any more.”