The Board

Nic Coward, Chairman

 Nic Coward is the first independent chairman of England Golf, taking over from Graham Yates. For the past year he has also been the independent chairman of the England Golf Partnership. He has a huge amount of experience gained in a 20-year career at the top levels of British sport.

Nic has been the general secretary of the Premier League, the chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority, joint chief executive of the Football Association and a director of Wembley Stadium. He has been a non-executive director of the FA, was treasurer of the CCPR (now the Sport and Recreation Alliance) and first chair of the glocal Sports Rights Owners Coalition.

Nic also has a number of non-executive roles away from sport. He now consults to a number of sports and entertainment businesses across the world.

 

Martha Brass, Senior Independent Director

Martha joined England Golf in September 2017. She has 30 years’ experience in the media and consumer goods sector. Martha has a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and an MBA from INSEAD.

Martha started her career at Procter & Gamble. She moved on to senior roles in the media before becoming CEO of International Operations at Endemol Shine Group. Martha was responsible for the Group’s production companies across Australia, Asia, Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and  Central, Southern, and Eastern Europe. Martha has also been on the board of England Golf Partnership, Israeli broadcaster Reshet Media, and women’s sport charity Women Win.

Martha is a member of Guildford Golf Club and also enjoys cycling, volleyball, skiing, and swimming.

 

Michael Pask, Independent Non-Executive Director

Michael is an experienced leader in sports, media and entertainment. Before joining England Golf, he was the Senior Vice President at WME IMG. He worked in golf events and built up the academy internationally alongside its Golf Course Design, resort management and advisory businesses.

Michael created an Olympic representation business that managed Sir Steve Redgrave, Michael Johnson, Dame Katherine Grainger and more. He was also involved in the Tourism and Stadium aspects of the business. Michael sat on the Sport Relief Steering Committee and Make A Wish Foundation Corporate Alliance Group. He’s also been an advisor to a range of businesses.

 

Michael achieved a first-class honours degree from St. Andrews University. He participated in an eleven month cycling expedition of the length of the Andes for Leukaemia Research. Now you’ll find Michael at Royal Wimbledon Golf Club where he has a handicap of +1.

 

Carol Alford, Non-Executive Director

Carol brings a variety of skills to the board of England Golf. She lives in Staffordshire with her golfing family, where she’s an entrepreneur and Mental Toughness Coach.

Carol has worked as a chartered civil engineer and IT program manager. She uses her extensive knowledge to help inform England Golf’s digital strategy project. Carol is also a director of Woodhall Spa Golf Management.

Carol has experience at all levels of golf, from grass roots to elite performance. She has been a voting member for Staffordshire ladies association and Chair for the county development group.

 

Alistair Booth, Non-Executive Director

Alistair is a semi-retired businessman. He’s a keen golfer and all-round sport enthusiast. Alistair is an England Golf Board Member, Chair of England Golf Club Manager’s Advisory Group and a member of the Audit and Finance Committee.

He studied Business Studies at Hull, then owned a consumer electronics business for 15 years. For the last eight years, he has become more involved in the golf industry. After selling his company in 2009, he joined the board of Frilford Heath Golf Club, where he’s been a member since 1994. He became Executive Director in 2010 and Executive Chairman in 2016.

Alistair is President of Berks, Bucks & Oxon Golf Union, Independent Chair of Greenkeepers Training Committee, associate member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Golf and Board member of UKGCOA. He’s also on the board of two Christian charities.

 

Pat Crowson, Non-Executive Director

Pat has been on the board since 2015. Her current responsibilities include the Audit and Finance Committee and the Women and Girls Group. She joined England Golf with nearly forty years’ experience working for her local government.

Pat took up golf after retiring as Chief Executive of Restormel Borough Council, Cornwall in 2005. Ever since, she’s helped manage and develop the game at all levels. Pat has been women's Captain of her club, as well as County Secretary, Secretary of the Cornwall Golf Partnership/Development Group, Chairman of the SW Region and Voting Member for Cornwall.

At the beginning of 2017, Pat was chosen by the LGU to join the Business Affairs Committee of the R&A. Following a committee restructure, Pat is now also a member of the Championship Committee – Professional Events.

 

Jill Dean, Non-Executive Director

Jill became a board member in 2016 and is now Chair of the Governance Committee. She has used her professional experience to help England Golf through a major governance review.

After her degree at Hull University, Jill went on to study law. She became a partner of a provincial practice before setting up her own partnership in 1991. Jill grew the company into a successful LLP and sold it in 2010.

Sport has always been a large part of Jill’s life. She has been Ladies’ Captain and Director of Temple Golf Club and a Voting Member Representative for Berkshire CLGA. Jill is also a governer of a local school, a Churchwarden, and lay Chair of the executive of a group of local churches.

 

Ron Harrison, Non-Executive Director

Ron joined England Golf in 2015 and is now the Chairman of the Audit & Finance committee. He is also the coaching manager for England Golf’s under-16 boys’ North West regional squad.

Ron is a chartered management accountant and was a senior financial manager with motor trade groups for over twenty years. He retired in 2012. Ron has been involved with Cheshire County as Chairman of Selectors, County Captain, Chairman of Seniors and County President. He’s currently a member of Ringway Golf Club.

Ron has a category one handicap, having played golf for over 50 years. He won the Cheshire Boys’ Championship in 1966 and the Seniors’ in 2016. He has represented the Seniors 99 times in events. Outside of golf, Ron is a keen walker, and enjoys pilates, yoga and even the occasional cha cha cha.

 

John Peters, Non-Executive Director

John has been on the board of England Golf since 2014. He has been an active member of a wide range of initiatives, from the Digital Strategy Working Group to the HR Committee.

John joined us after working in Fire Protection Engineering for 34 years. He was responsible for contract execution and profit and loss for major international building services, and special risk fire engineering installations.

He retired as Regional Operation & National Business Development Director in 2010 to take on the role of President of the Essex Golf Union. John has been involved with Woodford Golf Club for many years. Outside of the sport, he is also a Freeman of the City of London.

 

Doug Poole, Non-Executive Director

Doug became a board member in 2017. He has extensive experience in the golf industry. He has served as a board member with the Professional Golfers Association, Golf Foundation, and British Golf Industry Association where he was Chairman for four years. He is also Chairman of Stonecheck, a property development company.

As Director of Golf for British Airways he managed the airline’s golfing developments, including specialist golf holidays and corporate golf travel. He owned a company selling specialist golf travel and running corporate events. And as the franchise owner of Golfsmith Europe he distributed brands including Lynx, MacGregor, Greg Norman across Europe.

Doug is a keen player. He was initially a PGA Member attached to Coombe Hill Golf Club in Surrey, before moving to Lindrick Golf Club as Club Professional where he played tournament golf and coached many successful tour players. He plays off a handicap of 5.

 

Carole Waights, Non-Executive Director

Carole brings over 25 years’ experience of HR management to the board. She spent 15 years at Glaxo Wellcome (now GSK) as Head of Training and Development. Then, after leaving Glaxo, she worked as a consultant for several blue-chip companies and local government.

Carole’s skills lie in the recruitment and development of managers, working at board level and mentoring new team members. She is also experienced in managing change, developing and implementing competency frameworks, and performance management systems.

After retirement, Carole became a keen golfer and has been involved at club and county level. She’s taken on a range of roles including Ladies’ Secretary, Junior Organiser, and County Performance Manager. In 2013, she was appointed Yorkshire Ladies’ County Captain. Carole has recently moved to Cornwall with her husband and now plays golf at St Enodoc and Bowood Park.

 

Ian Watkins, Non-Executive Director

Ian joined the England Golf Trust in 2014. He is a member of the governance committee and Chair of the championship working group. He is also Co-Chair of the Gloucestershire Golf Partnership and President of the Gloucestershire Golf Union.

After 10 years in the police, Ian left with the rank of Traffic Sergeant. His other past roles include marketing, sales and business development director in the insurance industry and senior administrator and corporate trustee of multi-million-pound final salary pension schemes.

Ian has been a qualified golf referee since 2002. He has had various responsibilities over the years, including secretary of the Gloucestershire Golf Union, Captain of Tewkesbury Park GC and President of the Gloucestershire golf captains. He has also been an EGU voting member and Chair of the EGU marketing committee.

 

Les Wilson, Non-Executive Director

Les’s business experience is a great asset to the England Golf board, and he’s currently part of the Audit Committee. He has designed and developed commercial computer software systems since 1971.

Les was first involved at Director level nearly 40 years ago, when he was founding Director of a software house specialising in IBM mid-range computer systems. In 1984, Les founded the business where he is still Chairman today. It now specialises in Document Management and Workflow system implementation and maintenance.

Les first got involved with golf administration at his home club of Greenmount in the late 80s. He then became Junior Organiser for the BDGA. In 1999, Les joined the Executive of the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs and became President in 2012. He was also appointed the LUGC Voting Member in 2010 and elected to the Board in 2014.

 

Nick Pink, Chief Executive Officer

Nick was appointed CEO of England Golf in March 2016 following four years as European Manager for the International Cricket Council (ICC). In his first 18 months in the role, Nick launched a new strategy to grow the game in England following a period of consultation, restructured the delivery team to focus on supporting golf clubs and worked alongside the PGA and Golf Foundation to enable England Golf to become the lead body responsible for public funding through Sport England.

He also recruited the organisation's first independent chair and two new independent directors and committed to working with national partners, county organisations, golf facilities and other home unions to advance golf in England. Previously Nick worked for organisations including UK Sport, Youth Sport Trust and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Passionate about all sports, he is a keen golfer, and holds a single figure handicap, and he also plays cricket and hockey. He is looking forward to introducing his young son and daughter to the world of sport.

 

Simon Wilson, Finance Director

Simon joined England Golf in March 2017, where he is putting financial reporting to use to help the organisation achieve its wider strategic aims. A qualified chartered management accountant, Simon’s 25-year career spans roles in retail, leisure, gaming and the Civil Service, where he was Head of Management Accounts at the Office of the Public Guardian.

He gained extensive technical accounting experience in private practice where he held managerial roles including tax manager and head of audit and accounts production and in a commercial setting as financial controller.

Simon plays golf at Edwalton Golf Club and enjoys history, after avoiding studying it at school, although he has failed to persuade his wife and daughter of the joys of visiting castles and battlefields.

 

Rod Findlay, Company Secretary

Rod moved to England Golf in 2014 having gained experience at Sport England, four national sport governing bodies, two professional sports clubs and in private legal practice. For over eight years he worked in senior positions in rugby league, including Head of Legal at the Rugby Football League.

Before moving into sport in 2005, Rod was a partner in a specialist law firm in Newcastle. As a member of the Board of the Ladies Golf Union in 2016 he negotiated its merger with the R&A. He was also a Non-Executive Director at Badminton England and continued to advise them on the National Badminton League until its launch in 2014.

Rod is currently a Senior Lecturer in sports law at Northumbria University and an External Examiner for sports law and practice programmes at Leicester's De Montfort University. Rod plays golf at Rudding Park Golf Club and is also a keen runner and mountain biker.

 
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