Golfers and golf clubs who make the game great and inspire others to play have been honoured at the England Golf Awards.
The winners were celebrated at a gala dinner on Thursday where the guests heard of their outstanding contribution to growing the game – and showed their appreciation with standing ovations.
They include a man who proved that Golf’s Got Talent and attracted 5000 girls to try the game, the club owner who has doubled his membership, the professional who is packing lessons with learners, the club which used its 125th anniversary to plan for the future, and the 15-year-old who inspires other disabled people to play.
The activities of the award winners support England Golf’s strategic plan, Raising Our Game, which aims to create more members, more players and stronger clubs.
England Golf Chief Executive Nick Pink said: “Our award winners are all amazing people and it’s a great pleasure to celebrate them and everything that’s good about golf.”
The award winners were:
Innovation Award – Cae Menai Davis of The Golf Trust, presented by Oliver Gunning, Your Golf Travel.
Cae is the founder of The Golf Trust which promotes golf as an inclusive game in inner-city communities. His Golf’s Got Talent project involved 5000 girls in north and west London schools in just four months. Now, 600 girls are taking part in golf coaching away from their schools and 250 have become junior golf members. He said: “To be recognised in this way for our Golf’s Got Talent project is testament to all the girls who took a leap in to the unknown by learning golf.”
Participation Award – Jan Tallentire of Warley Park Golf Club, Essex, presented by Liz Aitken, Sport England Relationship Manager.
Jan has run a remarkable drive to inspire new women players since she was Ladies’ Captain in 2014. In just two years she’s given a taste of golf to 170 women, more than 40 have signed up for Get into Golf courses and 26 have already taken up membership at her club. She said: “For me, the pleasure has been seeing many of the lady beginners carrying on playing as a group, and enjoying the game we love so much.”
Membership Award – Alec Fernihough of Gaudet Luce Golf Club, Worcestershire, presented by Morten Backhausen, Danish Golf Union Chief Executive.
Alec introduced Utopian Golf at his club, a flexible membership package which is based on a points system, but has no annual fee. It offers full membership benefits and has had widespread appeal. In the two years since it was introduced the Gaudet Luce membership has doubled from around 400 to just over 800. Alec commented: “The way that people live their lives has changed hugely over the past few years and I believe that golf club memberships need to reflect this.”
Talent Pathway Award – Daniel Parkes of The Nottinghamshire Golf and Country Club, presented by Nigel Edwards, England Golf Performance Director.
Daniel is a PGA professional and the Academy Director at The Nottinghamshire where he has developed the popular ‘Pathway to Golf’ scheme which fills eight junior classes and 10 adult classes each week. The Try, Learn and Play programme was launched in April 2015 and has already created 26 new club members. He said: “I am unbelievably happy with this achievement for The Nottinghamshire and as we always say, team work makes the dream work.”
Lifetime Service Award – Iain MacCaskill of Denham Golf Club, Buckinghamshire, presented by Marian Rae, England Golf President.
Iain has been closely involved with golf in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire (BB&O) for decades and a huge supporter of junior golf. Iain is a Scot who represented his country at boys’ and youths’ level and who played in The Open at Royal Troon in 1962. “I was very lucky as a boy and it spurs you to give something back to the game,” he commented. “My motivation has always been to help the boys on to the talent pathway and observe them achieving their goals and objectives.”
Young Volunteer of the Year – Warren Clark of Southwick Park Golf Club, Hampshire, presented by Brendon Pyle, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation.
Warren is a disabled teenager who inspires new golfers as a volunteer at his club and as an ambassador for the Disabled Golf Association. He said: “I like playing golf because it’s good for my special needs. In the past I used to be shy but now I am not, because I like talking to everyone at the golf club and also to whoever I teach. I love volunteering because I can help others to develop the benefits I have achieved through my golf.”
Volunteer of the Year – Paul Smith of Marriott Breadsall Priory Golf Club, Derbyshire, presented by Dean Murphy, New Zealand Golf Chief Executive.
Paul has devoted thousands of hours to encouraging juniors and making his club’s junior section one of the best in Derbyshire. This year he will also become the Derbyshire Junior Delegate. He said: “I would like to thank all our members for the magnificent support they have given to me and the junior section over the past year and this is also for them to enjoy and celebrate.”
GolfMark Club of the Year – Penrith Golf Club, Cumbria, presented by Craig Verrinder, the UK marketing manager for award sponsors COBRA PUMA GOLF.
Penrith used their 125th anniversary as the spur to plan for the future and they have a new focus on working with disabled people; fresh ideas to recruit more members; more effective communications; a thriving junior section; strong support for their seniors; a programme for course development and a new junior/ beginners’ course. Past captain Phil Park said: “This is a tremendous accolade for Penrith Golf Club and a special moment in the history of the club.”
Fuller’s London Pride Steward of the Year – Steve Warren of Eaton Golf Club, Norfolk, presented by Graham Yates, England Golf Chairman.
Steve is a steward who always goes the extra mile to provide a special experience for his members and visitors – and whose attention to detail has created more business for his club. “I’m overwhelmed!” he said. “This is the pinnacle of all my years in the golfing community and to be recognised by members and visitors is just wonderful.”
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