Three CPGA Members, Three National Teams: The Future in Coaching

Three CPGA Members, Three National Teams: The Future in Coaching


ACTON, ON (June 22, 2007) - At the Copa De Las Americas tournament at Beacon Hall in Aurora, Ontario, you will find the best, aspiring amateur golfers in the Pan-American region. You will also find some of the best coaches in the game of golf; coaches that are developing and growing the game across North America. More specifically, three coaches that are trying to lead their teams to victory at the Americas tournament are Canadian PGA members Henry Brunton, Dean Spriddle, and Tom Relf. Brunton coaches the Canadian Men’s National Team, Spriddle leads the Canadian Women’s National Team, and Relf, who has moved to the United States, is the coach of the Mexican National Men’s Team.

Brunton, who became a member in 1985, is known as one of Canada’s top golf coaches, and was recognized twice, in 2005 and 2007, in GOLF Magazine as a “Top 100” Instructor. This is quite an incredible feat, as Brunton had to be nominated, provide extensive information on his career thus far, and then be judged among 600 other entries by the GOLF Magazine Committee. Brunton is responsible for creating the Teaching and Coaching Certification Program (TCCP) which is a mandatory education program for CPGA members to reach their Class ‘A’ status. He also worked as an instructor in the Professional Golf Mangement Program from 1995-1999, and was selected as “Teacher of the Year” in 2003 by the CPGA of Ontario.

Brunton describes his schedule as a National coach as hectic but very rewarding, “I travel about 150 days of the year to places all over the globe; Germany, Australia, Carribean,” he says while glancing over at one of his players teeing off, “it is definitely not the most glamorous lifestyle, like some may imply, but it is something that I have a passion for, and that is what’s most important.” He suggests to those that want to get involved in coaching to work with the best people that give you the greatest opportunities. “A few people have really taught me and given me the opportunity to grow, specifically Head Professional Paul Sherratt (Rideau View Golf and Country Club), Master Professional Bruce Murray (Wildfire Golf Club), and Head Professional Bob Hogarth (The Royal Montreal Golf Club); that is what you should strive for when you are apprenticing, working for great people who are willing to give you ample opportunity”. Brunton suggests to other members interested in coaching to try to develop their practical ability with the same amount of effort in academic achievement so that they can understand all aspects of the game.

Spriddle is another CPGA member dedicated to teaching and coaching the younger generation of golfers. Spriddle joined the CPGA in 1993 and since then has received the Alberta PGA Teaching Professional of the Year award three times, and is also a recipient of the Canadian PGA Teacher of the Year award. Spriddle, who was born in England, grew up in Scotland and came to Canada in 1989, was also named one of the top ten golf instructors in the country by National Post Magazine. For members who are looking to excel in the coaching world, Spriddle suggests that “teaching as many lessons as you can, building up a rapport with those around you as well as volunteering for provincial camps are very helpful to network and improve; once this is accomplished, then applying for coaching seminars and then for a national coaching position is the best route”.
Like Brunton, Spriddle has also been on the road for over 100 days this year; “I believe that coaching is not a nine to five job, you have to be committed, it is a very demanding profession, coaching is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, I always tell my students that they can contact me at any time of the day or night if they need me, it is a very consuming lifestyle, but extremely rewarding at the end”. Spriddle was the Professional Golf Management & Recreation Facility program leader at Lethbridge Community College, and since then became the Membership Director at the Alberta PGA, and is currently on the Board of Directors for the CPGA as the Alberta zone National representative.

If you want to find Tom Relf, he is the one who escaped the cold winters of Canada, and moved himself to where he can play golf year round, in San Antonio, Texas. Relf is originally from Brandon, Manitoba and joined the CPGA in 1989. He moved to Texas in 1994, after going to school at UT San Antonio on a scholarship then working under Head Professional Richard Bull (now at Northern Pines Golf Course) in Manitoba. Relf started teaching lessons at a few courses in his area as well as in Korea, Japan, Guam, Alaska, all over the US and directly across the boarder in Mexico, where he found his niche in coaching.

“I was teaching about 15 to 20 players from Mexico, and the director of golf approached me to develop the national team program, and the rest is history,” Relf says while breaking with his team before the back nine. Currently Relf is the Director of Instruction at Briggs Ranch Golf Club in San Antonio, Texas and coaches the Mexico National Men’s and Women's Team for the Mexico Federation de Golf at Briggs Ranch. He is directly responsible for the development of a team consisting of 24 amateur golfers in Mexico and is also responsible for the preparation of top players who represent Mexico at national and international events throughout the world.

Aside from being the Director of Golf at Briggs Ranch, Relf also has his own business on the side, where he brings travel and golf together by taking avid players on luxurious trips to Canadian Rockies, The Masters, Ryder Cup, and has just included a new golf vacation/safari to South Africa. Relf was recently nominated for consideration by Golf Digest as the top teacher in Texas, and was also named to the Callaway Golf Sales Company Master Staff program. Relf explained that coaching is all about sharing information with others around you. “It’s great to be able to work so closely with Henry and Dean, we all tap each other for information and are all about growing the game, so we like to share our experiences with each other in hopes of generating a great future for the game”.

Pictured above in decending order: Tom Relf with Mexico National Team, Henry Brunton, Dean Spriddle

Overall Team Results at the Copas de las Americas 2007 Championship

 USA 287 -1 +28
2 Mexico 288 E +65
3 Canada 293 +5 +67
4 Argentina 311 +23 +75
5 Colombia 307 +19 +96
6 Puerto Rico 307 +19 +135
7 Peru 325 +37 +140
8 Trinidad and Tobago 325 +37 +148
9 Guatemala 342 +54 +212
10 Dominican Republic 348 +60 +267

Men’s Team Results

1 USA - Men 141 -3 +6
2 Argentina - Men 148 +4 +10
3 Mexico - Men 143 -1 +16
4 Canada - Men 144 E +21
5 Colombia - Men 149 +5 +35
6 Puerto Rico - Men 149 +5 +41
7 El Salvador - Men 155 +11 +50
8 Ecuador - Men 150 +6 +51
9 Guatemala - Men 166 +22 +53
10 Trinidad and Tobago - Men 156 +12 +58
11 Peru - Men 159 +15 +63
12 Dominican Republic - Men 155 +11 +65
13 Uruguay - Men 160 +16 +72
14 Costa Rica - Men 160 +16 +96
15 Venezuela - Men 171 +27 +100

Women’s Team Results – Round 4

1 USA - Women 146 +2 +22
2 Canada - Women 149 +5 +46
3 Mexico - Women 145 +1 +49
4 Colombia - Women 158 +14 +61
5 Argentina - Women 163 +19 +65
6 Peru - Women 166 +22 +77
7 Trinidad and Tobago - Women 169 +25 +90
8 Puerto Rico - Women 158 +14 +94
9 Guatemala - Women 176 +32 +159
10 Dominican Republic - Women 193 +49 +202

For More information on Teaching and Coaching please contact:

Craig Watson
Manager of Education
Canadian PGA
800.782.5764 (ext 236)

Erica Bury
Communications Coordinator
Canadian PGA

About the Canadian PGA:

Established in 1911, the Canadian Professional Golfers’ Association is a non-profit association comprised of approximately 3,500 golf professionals across the country with a mandate to promote and advance the game of golf, serving the needs of both its membership and the golf public through professional and junior golf development programs and high-calibre competitive events. The National Office is located in Acton, Ontario with nine Zone Offices across the country. For more information, visit: