Ryder Cup star Phil Price has been given an Outstanding Achievement Award by the Golf Union of Wales, in recognition of his contribution to the sport.
Price won three times on the European Tour, was second to Tiger Woods at a World Golf Championship, but is probably best known for a crucial victory over five times Major winner Phil Mickelson at the 2002 Ryder Cup at the Belfry.
He represented Wales a number of times as an amateur, including the 1989 Men’s European Team Championship at Royal Porthcawl, and this is the first time the Golf Union of Wales have given an outstanding achievement award.
He was not the only award winner at a special ceremony at Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor, sponsored by Future Financials.
Amy Boulden was the Welsh Tour Professional of the Year, finishing 12th in the LET Order of Merit, with four top 10 finishes including the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Birkdale.
The Welsh Amateur Golfer of the Year was shared between Ben Chamberlain, Tim Harry and Tom Williams, all of whom helped Great Britain and Ireland retain the Jacques Leglise Trophy against Continental Europe – the first time there were three Wales players in a Jacques Leglise team.
The Volunteer of the Year Award went to Simon Nicholas of Milford Haven, with the presentation done by 15-year-old Jacob Martin, a member of the GUW Youth Panel who is a junior ambassador for his club Glyn Abbey. Nicholas has helped the junior section at Milford Haven go from 20-61 members, while helping to develop a mini course, ensuring his club have bucked the trend of declining junior membership.
The Golf Development Wales PGA Professional of the Year was awarded to Lewis Jones of Cardiff Golf Club, having joined the club as a junior member before returning as part of the professional team at the club. He has been largely responsible for increasing junior numbers from 50 in 2011 to 125 in 2015.
The Welsh Golf Club of the Year were Cottrell Park in the Vale of Glamorgan, part of an eight strong shortlist in the strongest entry ever. The other clubs shortlisted were Clyne, Cardigan, Milford Haven, Cardiff, Pyle & Kenfig, Bryn Meadows and former winner Langland Bay.
Cottrell Park have welcomed more than 20,000 visitors during the year, increased playing membership by an impressive 11 per cent, had a strong year for the junior section with 60 members regularly taking part in the club’s coaching programme, and become a GUW certified Coaching Centre.
Price turns 50 later this year and will qualify for the various senior tours around the world, which will be another chapter in a glittering golfing career.
“I had one off the PGA as well which was nice, it’s always nice to come back and reminisce a little bit which was nice today,” said Price, who is still in the top 60 of the all-time money earners on the European Tour.
“When I look back at my career then it was better than I could have hoped at the start, it was a very nice journey, 23 years on the European Tour, all the places I have been it has been pretty good. I still get involved with the Wales amateur squads, I like to give something back.
“People do talk to me about the Ryder Cup lots of times. It is nice to be remembered for something good like that, you never tire of it because it was such a great moment. It was a long time ago, but it does not seem it because they show it so often.
“Now I am really excited looking forward to the senior tours and playing again. I am looking forward to playing on courses that suit my game and against people I think I can be competitive with.”
Golf Union of Wales chief executive Richard Dixon presented the award. “Phil fully deserves this award, as part of a really strong set of award winners for Welsh golf,” he said.
“He came through the amateur ranks of the Wales teams and went on to have a truly outstanding professional career.
“The highlight for most followers of Welsh golf was his fantastic performance in beating Phil Mickelson, then world No 2, in the Ryder Cup at the Belfry. It was a pivotal match in Europe’s victory and no-one will forget the putt he holed across the 16th green to win and the Tysonesque fist pump that followed.
“We look forward to following his progress on the senior tours from later in the year. The GUW awards have been a great chance to recognise the good work that is going on in Welsh golf.
“We had the strongest entry ever in the Club of the Year category, so congratulations to Cottrell Park for coming out on top but also to all the other outstanding entrants.
“Amy Boulden had a great year on the Ladies European Tour, including a top 10 at the Ricoh Ladies British Open, on an amateur level it was great to have three Wales players in the Great Britain and Ireland Jacques Leglise Trophy team for the first time, while Simon Nicholas and Lewis Jones, along with Cottrell Park, show there is great work going on at grass roots level.”
Golf Union of Wales www.golfunionwales.org
Golf Development Wales www.golfdevelopmentwales.org.