PGA Professional Tony Rees is stepping down after 56 years at Oxford Golf Club

Tony Rees of Oxford Golf Club must be one of the world’s longest serving head PGA pros. He is set to call time on his career after more than half a century at the same club and 49 years as head professional.

The 74-year-old will step down on January 31, just two weeks shy of his 75th birthday, with a view towards spending more time with his grandchildren (and playing golf.)

A golf-mad teenager, it was clear from an early age that Rees would go on to a long and successful career in the game.

He joined Oxford in 1959 and trained under former PGA chairman Fred Taylor – an apprentice to PGA founder member and six-time Open champion Harry Vardon. Seven years later Rees was appointed head professional.

“Fred was a great guy to work with,” Rees said. “At that time he was involved with the university and he was regularly organising rounds of golf with some of the great players of the day.

“I wouldn’t have believed it if you’d told me I would be there for quite this long, purely because I didn’t realise at the time I was going to enjoy it as much as I have done!”

Rees has seen some significant changes in golf during his tenure at Oxford.

“Obviously there has been a lot of progress in the sport over the last 50 years but you have to move with the times – you have no choice, otherwise you get left behind,” he said.

“For me the biggest change has been the move from wooden-headed clubs to modern clubs.

“You see how far the young pros can hit it nowadays and it’s unbelievable. The development of the clubs has helped to make that possible.”

Now Rees is looking forward to retirement, although he won’t be hanging up his clubs.

“I’ll be playing as much golf as I can,” he said. “That, and enjoying spending some time with my grandchildren.”