A celebration of those who give their time and enthusiasm for grass roots junior golf: volunteers, PGA Professionals, junior organisers, schoolteachers and local authority officers, took place at Wentworth Club during the Golf Foundation President’s Awards on Wednesday 23rd May.
Golf Foundation President Colin Montgomerie greeted each winner on stage in Wentworth Club’s magnificent Ballroom. Colin supports the Foundation’s aim to make the game more accessible to children from all backgrounds and circumstances through its ‘HSBC Golf Roots’ programme, and he commended the good work of the award recipients who have all helped to significantly advance the Foundation’s cause in schools, the communities and golf clubs.
Nine prestigious awards were presented in front of the largest ever audience for this long-running event, held at Wentworth courtesy of Golf Foundation supporter The European Tour and the Wentworth Club.
Taking place on the eve of the BMW PGA Championship that is graced by the game’s best players, Foundation Chief Executive Mike Round stressed that all the award winners were the “best in the world” in their own endeavours; work which can change the lives of young people as they grow in the sport.
Mike Round said: “I’m talking about the group of people who are absolutely and completely dedicated to grass roots junior golf. I’m amazed what they’re able to achieve. The group of people who inspire youngsters, who encourage, support, who try to break down barriers on behalf of youngsters, who raise funds, give up their own time, or who dedicate their careers to helping and developing young people.
“It’s great to be able to congratulate the winners today for their achievements. They have all done tremendous work as part of our programme and I hope this inspires everyone here, and golfers everywhere, to support HSBC Golf Roots for the good of the game and the next generation of young players.”
Mike Round also thanked Colin Montgomerie for his own enthusiastic support as Foundation President, a comment which received long applause from all present.
The President’s Awards were presented as follows:
The Mackenzie Award is earned by an initiative that shows how golf can be used to promote positive life messages, and this year it was won by The Swingz Project in Liverpool. In 2011, Everton Football Club, The Golf Academy and Liverpool City Council came together to run a golf project in Norris Green. Figures for deprivation and child poverty in North Liverpool are higher than the England average; gun crime and gang culture are also local issues. The project built on Everton FC’s successful ‘Kickz’ outreach football programme, but this time it was all about golf. PGA Professional Craig Thomas gained the trust of local children and when they learned the golf basics they enjoyed the facilities at North Golf Course for the first time. Disabled youngsters have also been supported and a clear pathway has been created for those children showing an interest in the sport.
The Gus Payne Award is awarded to the club that raises the most money for the Golf Foundation’s initiatives and was won by Royal Worlington and Newmarket Golf Club. The club raised £4,000 for the Golf Foundation, compared with the national average of £22 per club. Royal Worlington andNewmarket’s President Mr Dai Rowley-Jones decided to have a charity day and nominated the Golf Foundation as the beneficiary. A great time was had by all and by the end of the event a very significant sum of money had been raised.
Mike Round said during the awards: “We are fortunate that there are individuals out there such as Mr Rowley-Jones, and forward-thinking clubs such as this year’s winner of the Gus Payne Award, who acknowledge the value of the work we do and are willing to contribute to our funds.”
The Bonallack Award for a great schools programme was presented to Bridlington School Sport Partnership and Flamborough Head Golf Club in Yorkshire, demonstrating very clearly what is possible when teachers and PGA Professionals work together.
In 2011, 10 primary schools received coaching in curriculum time and in after-school clubs and 857 children were introduced to golf using Tri-Golf equipment. Sixteen young volunteers helped in this process. A total of 330 children in secondary schools were given the opportunity to try golf using Golf Xtreme, many sampling the new ‘Super Sixes’ format, and 80 children progressed from the schools activity to a coaching programme at the golf club. The innovative East Coast Junior Golf Tour was set up, which initially involved three local clubs as venues. A great example of a thriving local programme.
The Laddie Lucas Award for the best local initiative went to the Rural Derbyshire School Sport Partnership and Ashbourne Golf Club. In 2010, one of the small village schools in the area made it to the national Tri-Golf final, and there was a strong desire to build on this momentum. Teacher training was offered to all the primary schools and 22 teachers attended. Ten schools then received a Tri-Golf bag and subsequent coaching led to over 300 children playing Tri-Golf during curriculum time and in after-school clubs.
A Tri-Golf competition was held at the golf club where 100 boys and girls from all 10 schools competed, and a school open ‘Golf Day’ was also highly successful. If this wasn’t enough, one of the schools went on to win the National Tri-Golf Final of 2011!
The Critchley Award for the best major project was awarded to the Plymouth HSBC Golf Roots City Project. This was a collaboration between Cornwall County Golf Partnership, Devon County Golf Partnership, golf club operator Crown Golf and the Golf Foundation. Six local golf clubs were involved and an imaginative training day was hosted at the St Mellion International Resort, which brought together PGA Pros, volunteers, teachers, partnership development managers, competition managers and university students.
This project introduced over 1,500 children and young people to golf across a large area through school, youth club, inner city and club-based activity. The work was well planned, well managed and created to deliver sustainable activity. Exciting highlights included Tri-Golf festivals, inner city ‘Street Golf’ and a two-day profile event in the city’s Drake Circus Shopping Centre.
The Gallacher Award for volunteer of the year was presented to Gareth Hughes, from Rhondda Golf Club. Gareth dedicates much of his spare time to the club where he has been a member since the age of nine. He has developed the Rhondda Junior Golf Academy, offering coaching and competition to boys and girls of all ages and abilities. In 2006 he became the youngest ever Director at the club and is also a member of the Glamorgan County Golf Union Executive. At 26, he is the youngest golf club Captain in Britain.
Gareth is a qualified Level II PGA Coach, and a top-class fundraiser; he was instrumental in securing £75,000 from the Ryder Cup legacy fund to develop the nine-hole academy course which is now a hive of activity. Mike Round described him as “one of the most enthusiastic, committed and dedicated volunteers I have ever come across”.
The Sinclair Award for the PGA Professional who has carried out junior development work of real excellence, went to Philip Pearson, of Eaton Golf Club in Norwich. Philip is a committed and highly regarded coach who has always put the coaching of the juniors at the top of his list. He has established a very successful junior academy, growing from less than 10 children about three years ago to nearly 60. Philip helped to deliver the HSBC Golf Roots City Project in Norwich, coaching in schools and reaching 300 children under the age of nine. A Tri-Golf festival at Eaton Golf Club was a big hit; with many young faces, bright colours and so much enthusiasm at the club, all made possible because of his passion. Philip has also done great work for his area’s County Sports Partnership and County Golf Partnership, and exemplifies the strong relationship between PGA Professionals and the Golf Foundation.
The Burroughs Award is presented to those who support young golfers as they deal with adversity and this year’s winner is The Leicester Development Group. In 2011 this golf programme led by PGA Professional Ian Bailey and his team of coaches grew to 14 primary schools (seven each side of the city) and two secondary schools, supported by a group of young Ambassadors.
The Golf Foundation was impressed with the way the disability work was delivered as part of this initiative. This included coaching in four special schools which were invited and integrated into the two Tri-Golf city finals, rather than taking place in a stand-alone event. This was so successful with the schools and County Sports Partnership that Tri-Golf was included into the Leicestershire Parallel games for the first time ever. More good work in this area can follow thanks to additional City Council funding.
The Sir Henry Cotton Award for long-term service to junior golf, was presented to Ina Murphy. Ina joined Fulford Heath Golf Club in 1988 and immediately became fully involved in club life, becoming Ladies’ Captain in 1989 and then the Ladies’ President in 2006. She has been a junior organiser for the last 10 years and has generated links within the local community where, with a colleague, she provides coaching to a number of primary and secondary schools using Tri-Golf and her own collection of clubs for older children.
Ina was the County Junior Organiser from 2004-6 and now has special responsibility for promoting county coaching to junior girls aged 8-17. She has achieved PGA Level 1 Coach status. Countless numbers of young people in the Bromsgrove and Worcestershire area have benefited from her community spirit, experience and her love of golf.
Mike Round said: “Often awards like this go to well-known or high profile individuals, but our winner comes from the army of volunteers who give up their own time for the benefit of others.”
To learn more about HSBC Golf Roots and the Golf Foundation call 01992 449830 or see www.golf-foundation.org
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