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Iain Roberts moves on to fresh fairways

Respected golf professional Iain Roberts, an old friend of Boase Cohen & Collins, is planning a series of innovative business ventures that will keep him busy in both North America and Asia. He talks to Niall Donnelly about his plans.

Hong Kong, 10 June 2016: When the Boase Cohen & Collins 30th Anniversary Golf Day was staged at Hong Kong Golf Club in March, Iain Roberts was integral to its success.

The respected golf coach and executive played in the tournament, alongside BC&C Senior Partner Colin Cohen and two of the firm’s clients, and gave an entertaining talk at the prize giving dinner. In addition, he brought along his coaching colleague Andy Henderson, who videoed every player hitting a tee shot and provided on-the-spot swing analysis.

At the time, Iain was preparing to leave his post as Group Executive Director of Mission Hills in China to take on new challenges. A few weeks later, he duly walked away from the world’s biggest golf club and has spent much of his time since crisscrossing the globe.

His new-found freedom allows him to spend more time in his role as coach to top women’s player Suzann Pettersen and as mentor to his son, Oliver, who has recently turned professional. He has also been talking with golf industry leaders in North America and Asia on a range of issues including player management, coaching, development, licensing and expanding his renowned Iain Roberts Golf School.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my tenure at Mission Hills, it was five wonderful years, but it was a good time to move on and embrace fresh challenges. The experience I gained there was immense and will stand me in good stead in the next phase of my career,” says Iain.

“I’m still based in Hong Kong but am travelling to the US more frequently to work with Suzann on the LPGA Tour and also to Europe, where Oliver is playing his first season on the Alps Tour.”

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Iain Roberts (left) is pictured with Colin Cohen at the BC&C 30th Anniversary Golf Day.

UK-born Roberts, a former European Tour player, arrived at Mission Hills in 2011 after 15 years as Head Professional at Hong Kong Golf Club. His multiple achievements included overseeing many elite tournaments such as the 2011 World Cup, the 2012 HSBC Champions, five editions of the World Ladies Championship and the 2012 and 2014 editions of the World Celebrity Pro-Am.

In addition, he supervised the world’s largest golf academy – spread across Mission Hills’ two giant resorts in Shenzhen-Dongguan and Haikou – ran the sport’s biggest junior development programme and increased the number of Mission Hills’ reciprocal clubs from just a handful when he arrived to more than 600.

His outstanding contribution to golf was given the ultimate recognition last year when the Professional Golfers’ Association of Great Britain and Ireland awarded him Master Professional status – a rare honour that has been granted to just 38 of the organisation’s 7,800 members.

“I’ve had productive discussions with the LPGA Tour, various players and their agents, and other senior golf industry figures. There are a number of exciting opportunities in both the US and Asia. The LPGA, especially, understands that Asia is the future of golf and it is keen to enhance its profile and presence in the region,” confirms Iain.

“In my time at Mission Hills I was heavily involved in some highly prestigious tournaments and I worked with greats of the game like Gary Player, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo and Annika Sörenstam. These experiences have opened a number of doors in the US and led to some interesting conversations. I’m hoping to announce some concrete plans in the near future.”

Everyone at Boase Cohen & Collins wishes Iain the best of luck with his various ventures and we hope to see him again, clubs in bag and ready to play, when the firm holds its next Golf Day in 2017.