Tributes paid to popular PGA controller

Tributes have poured in from PGA Professionals around the country for Colin Ray, the former West Region PGA tournament controller from Bristol who has died at the age of 81.

His son David, a former European Tour player, said: “The messages posted on social media and to the family directly have been unbelievable.

“He loved the professional environment and being around pros and is still warmly remembered today 16 years after retiring.”

The PGA was well represented at his funeral at Bristol South Crematorium on New Year’s Eve.

A former Grenadier Guardsman who served in Egypt he was awarded a testimonial Pro-Am at his home club Long Ashton on his retirement. He joined the PGA after leaving his job as a postman at Long Ashton in 1986.

He became a tournament controller and specialised in arranging events in the South West and South Wales, travelling daily to the regional PGA headquarters at Exeter.

A proficient golfer, he once won the Ashton Vase on his home course and represented Gloucestershire. He always took a keen interest in the professional career of his son David, who is now based at Chipping Sodbury Golf Club.

He caddied for David in four of his five appearances in The Open and also when he won European Tour School and the Under 25s Championship.

Ray Ellis, the former West Region secretary said: “He was something of a disciplinarian, was always immaculately turned out, was reliable, hard-working, a good team player and very popular with the players.”

He is survived by his wife Valerie in Nailsea. His other son Steve is a senior police officer.

He had been in ill-health for three years after suffering from sepsis following an insect bite and spent his final nine weeks in the Bristol Royal Infirmary.