Ritchie Smith wins Coach of the Year at Sportwest Awards

25th Feb 2022

Ritchie Smith has been twice nominated for the Sportwest Coach of the Year Award, without taking home the honour. Last night however, Smith was awarded for his hard work in building arguably one of the greatest golfing stables in both the country, and internationally.

The Royal Fremantle coach was amongst a field that featured WBBL Perth Scorchers coach Shelley Nitschke, Australian Kookaburras head coach Colin Batch and renowned Swimming coach Simon Remond.

Following a year in which Smith’s most well-known pupils Hannah Green, Minjee Lee and Min Woo Lee, all made an impact on the international stage, Smith was sure to mention their efforts.

“Receiving the award is a great recognition of the work that myself and my team have done over the past five years. It’s not only a recognition for our efforts, but also of the efforts of the players and the hard work they’ve put in”, said Ritchie.

Hannah and Minjee both competed at the Olympics this year in Tokyo, and Minjee won her first major championship, the Amundi Evian Championship in France, while Min Woo took out the Scottish Open and now sits just outside the world’s Top 50 players.

“To see these guys playing so well is a realisation that we’re doing all the right things. We’re trying to influence the players in a way that allows them to make their own discoveries. We’ve been able to create a culture that allows good players to become great players themselves, influencing in a way that allows them to get the most out of it”.

Not one to rest, Ritchie was back on the course today with Minjee in preparation for her 2022 campaign.

“Minjee is in a really good space golf wise, especially after her break. She came into the pre-season with some inconsistent data on her putting and chipping. So we’ve worked on that and it has improved significantly. I believe if she picks up a shot with those, she could go from being the 7th best player in the world to the best”.

Minjee was a finalist for the premier award, the Sport West Sports Star, which was taken out by Paralympic star Madison de Rozario.