Mumford’s exit is a bogie for local kids

With the venue for golf facing an
uncertain future, the general vibe around the sport here in Cayman is not the
greatest. Adding insult to injury is the recent departure of one of its biggest
aids.

Former national team coach Kevin
Mumford has left the Cayman Islands. The former golf pro at the North Sound
Golf Club now has a new position in the Bahamas. He is now the head
professional at the Emerald Reef Golf Club, Sandals Emerald Bay in Great Exuma.
It is not clear under what circumstance the Canadian national left the
island.  Cayman Islands Golf Association
President Judy Van Liere states the result is lost development time for junior
players. “The association has tried to develop players, chiefly by working with
North Sound Golf Club a lot of years,” Van Liere said. “With Kevin gone the
club no longer has a resident professional. Due to his absence and the
situation with the golf course, there has been no start to the junior program.”

Mumford had been in Cayman roughly
the last two years. In that time he served as head coach for the national team
on a number of occasions and a crucial hand in organizing local tournaments.
One of his last positions was with the Cayman team that went to Barbados this
summer for the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championship. He served as head coach for
the team of 14 golfers and two reserves.

Before leaving on that trip Mumford
stated that he was honoured to be the national golf coach and was pleased to
have developed talent here over the years. “I’m truly honoured to be coaching
the team,” Mumford said. “It gives me incredible self-satisfaction. As I told
you last year it makes Cayman even more of a second home for me. I feel that
with more training, both physical and mental, the golf in Cayman will continue
to grow. I believe it is my job as the national coach to help the team. I feel
we have the amount of talent here to compete with any team at any championship.
We will continue to prove that we belong and grow the level of golf here on the
island.”

Left to try and fulfil Mumford’s
vision is Mike Touchette. The junior golf coach, who is 28 years-old, has
worked with local golfers the last 20 months and readily states he brings a
wealth of experience.

“I am from Summerstown, Ontario,
Canada and I have been here in Cayman at the North Sound Club since February
2009,” Touchette said. “I first got involved in golf at the age of 17. I turned
pro in August 2005 at the age of 23 and received my Class “A” designation in
January 2008.

“I would like to give a big thanks
to Kevin Mumford for all of his hard work and dedication to junior golf in
Cayman. Kevin worked hard to establish a very strong junior program here at the
North Sound Club which was in place before I arrived.”

One of the biggest indications of
Mumford’s impact on the sport is the wealth of junior talent currently seen.
From Jack Widmer to Peyton Wight a number of youngsters have benefitted from
his tutelage. The latest starlet to emerge is Emily Ribbins. The 15 year-old
won the women’s and junior division at the recent President’s Trophy golf tournament.

Touchette, who helped organize the
competition, states her achievement is a testament to Mumford’s work. “My involvement
with the President’s Trophy event was to assist the association with the preparations,”
Touchette said. “I couldn’t be more proud of Emily. She has had a great summer,
playing in the Junior British Open, then competing in the Bahamas at the Caribbean
Junior Amateur Golf Championships and having improved immensely over that
three-day period.  “To top it off with a
win in both the ladies section and junior section of the President’s Trophy
just goes to show that her dedication and hard work over the course of the past
two years in the junior program is paying off. Both Kevin and I are very proud
of Emily and all of her achievements.”

One of the witnesses to Ribbins’
performance was Van Liere. She states the youngster has progressed nicely in
the sport. “I wasn’t really surprised she won to be honest,” Van Liere said. “I
played with her during the President’s Trophy event and I was a witness to her
good play. I’ve played with her three or four years now and watched her game
improve. She loves the game and I’m excited to see a junior do as well as Emily
has done.”