View From the Spire: Alex Hay 1933 – 2011

Alex Hay, a PGA professional for more than half a century, former Ryder Cup referee and celebrated TV commentator, died peacefully this morning following a short illness. He was 78.

Hay was born in Edinburgh in 1933 and joined Ben Sayers as an apprentice clubmaker before becoming an assistant at Potters Bar.
He qualified as a PGA professional in 1952 and had spells at East Herts, Dunham Forest and Ashridge golf clubs before moving to Woburn in 1977. Initially, the head PGA professional there, he became its managing director.
Hay also wrote several books on the techniques of the swing and played a key role in the drawings used in the PGA’s training manual.
However, it was his role as a commentator for the BBC from 1978 to 2004 that he is best known. He co-presented all the major tournaments with Peter Alliss and the pair were renowned for their wit, rapport, feeling and deep knowledge of the game.
Hay, who passed away with his family by his side, leaves a wife Ann, and two sons, Graham and David.

Ballesteros out but still fighting for major success at The 150th Open

Three-time Open champion Seve Ballesteros, who was the first to confirm his appearance in the Open Champions’ Challenge, has been advised by Doctors not to make the return to St Andrews 26 years after he famously triumphed on the Old Course in 1984.

While this is a blow to the golfing legend personally, legions of his supporters and well wishers and the R&A; Seve will still have a major presence at The Championships this year due to the launch of the worlds most comprehensive online golf academy that bears his name at

Seve Soft HandsWhile crowds of over 120,000 are expected to line the fairways to watch former Champions including Tom Watson and Sir Nick Faldo battle it out over 4 days – Seve and his team will be managing a high profile launch of an Academy that brings interactive coaching to a new technological level; online, with links to social networking, a significant events schedule and for portability – via smart phone.

The Seve Ballesteros Academy is a unique golf coaching platform, developed by Edinburgh-based Optimal Analysis Solutions, which allows golfers to interactively learn the characteristic, instinctive “Natural” play, made famous by the five-time major winner. Seve will participate in the launch via live video link at the Optimal golf simulator in the Tented Village of the 150th Open Championships at St Andrews in July.

The platform is a complete online coaching tool that enables golfers of all abilities the chance to learn the way of the three-times Open Champion’s natural methodology – playing with passion, intuition and in particular, mastering the key skills required to conquer the short game.

The Academy will provide a unique online and mobile phone offering and become a key part of a golfer’s personal tuition. The Seve Academy simulator will also attend a number of tour and retail events to engage golfers and corporate partners who, at core, will benefit from demonstrations and coaching on how Seve made doing it the hard way, look breathtakingly easy!

At, golfers will also have access to an extensive library of multimedia lessons, exercises and tips, coupled with unique and exclusive footage of Seve throughout his successful career.

Seve AcademySeve has in recent weeks been spending a lot of time providing up-to-date content for the Academy while also calling upon friends and colleagues to rally together to assist. This will include support from top male and female touring professionals as well as celebrity friends keen to support golf’s hero.

Corporate organisations and the media will also be able to be able to benefit while showing support, using the same unique content to reward staff and promote various aspects of their own corporate or retail business.

Profits from the Seve Ballesteros Academy will fund a number of projects supported through his Foundation.

Seve Ballesteros Foundation

The Seve Ballesteros Foundation was set up with a two-fold mission and in the UK now works closely with Cancer Research UK in helping to provide:

• Funding brain cancer research projects
• Funding underprivileged children in Spain with the skills and drive required to help them achieve their dreams in the golf world, through access to pro golf coaching

In the UK, the Seve Ballesteros Foundation works in partnership with Cancer Research UK to fund vital research into brain tumours.


Optimal Analysis is a sports performance analysis solutions company. Since 2004, it has allowed countless sportsmen to achieve a higher level of performance using the latest performance-enhancing technology.

Based in Edinburgh, with a presence across the globe, employing a mix of sports, IT and business professionals, Optimal has the products, skills and experience across sports and marketing environments including: technological solutions, online academies, marketing and advertising experience.

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