Born 1934 in London, England
Neil Coles in his typical "touching knees" finish
A young Neil Coles in 1958. He finished 19th in the PGA order of merit while still assistant professional at Burhill golf club.
I was always impressed with the swing and striking of Neil Coles. His swing was so simple to watch and as unassuming as the man himself. Many Europeans felt he was one of the most underrated players on the Tour which was resulting from a fear of flying; otherwise, he would almost certainly have established his polished game on the American tour successfully.
The Ryder cup was an event where the amiable Londoner confirmed his ability to compete with the world`s best. He accumulated a 5-6-4 singles record in eight Ryder Cup appearances, tied most singles points won in the event's history, and that all in a winless period of time for the Great Britain/Ireland team.
Coles had a successful career in European golf, winning 29 important tournaments between 1956 and 1982. After reaching 50, he won a further 14 important Seniors tournaments between 1985 and 2002, winning his final European Senior Tour event at the age of 67.
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No doubt about it, he IS the most under-rated British golfer; absolutely unbeatable in money matches on the Surrey courses.
At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man (which wouldn't be ar from the truth) I miss the skills the players from his era and before displayed. The way they worked the ball, varying flight and spin to reach pins or avoid strategically placed hazards. The game today disaapoints me in that regard. Too much emphasis on length and the mentality of "we'll gouge it out of the rough with a wedge anyway." I was blessed to be able to see Peter Thomson and even Norman von Nida as a very old man. The scores they put together with the equipment and agronomy knowledge of the time were quite remarkable.