Pike pro at Ferndown

Neil Pike was chosen from more than 70 applicants to become the new head professional at Ferndown.

The 28-year-old from The Oxfordshire succeeded Iain Parker who took over when Doug Sewell retired after 27 years.
Ferndown have a history of long-serving professionals and Pike becomes only the fourth in the past 60 years.
Life member Sewell, who enjoyed a marvellous playing career at both amateur and professional level, succeeded Percy Alliss, father of the television commentator, who spent 25 years with the club.
Pike was a junior member at Weston Turville and played county golf for Berks, Bucks and Oxon off a plus-one handicap.
Then his father became the first member at The Oxfordshire, a club that later staged the Benson and Hedges International European Tour event.
Pike accompanied him and became an assistant professional to Ian Mosey in 1993. Five years later when former Tour player Mosey left, Pike was promoted to head pro. But he always wanted to run his own business.
He said: “I have been interested in becoming self-employed, but this was the first good job that came up.
“Ferndown is a club with a rich history and has a high reputation.
“It is an ideal club for me and I hope to offer members and visitors the service they expect here.”
He has refitted and stocked the shop and had between £40,000 and £50,000 work of stock and equipment in place after his first two or three weeks at the club.
He said: “I built up a good relationship with good companies and top name suppliers at The Oxfordshire and will have a full range of products.”
He will work with two part-time staff initially but expects to recruit a full-time assistant professional in the spring. He is seeking a trainee with a couple of years’ experience and hopes the PGA will direct suitable candidates his way.
He also plans to offer a good teaching service and says that he is comfortable with all aspects of a professional’s life.
Although he won a number of assistants’ events and Pro-ams during his early days at The Oxfordshire, work at the club took precedence over playing.
He has played at Ferndown in the past in the club’s festival and expects to take part in local tournaments. He has also joined the Dorset PGA-Bournemouth Alliance.
Ferndown secretary Chris Davies said: “We are looking forward to a long and happy association with Neil who beat a very high quality group of applicants.”
The club narrowed the original list to 27 and held a series of interviews. Then the short list was reduced to six.
Each candidate then underwent a detailed formal examination and then gave an instruction clinic.
Parker, meanwhile, is having a break from professional golf although he has become associated with the New Forest Golf Club at Lyndhurst.
Colin Murray, who was his assistant in the last few months at Ferndown, has become the New Forest pro.