By Elliott Heath published
The Golf Foundation Awards took place at Wentworth where those who especially help to grow the game at grass roots level were recognised for their hard work
Golf Foundation Awards Inspire the Next Generation of Young Golfers
The Golf Foundation Presidents’ Awards at Wentworth celebrated the incredible work of volunteers and professionals in offering their time and commitment to help young people to enjoy all the benefits of golf.
The ceremony was held in Wentworth Club’s ballroom, where the event’s largest ever audience heard the stories of ten award winners and their projects, which all help to develop the golfers and golf stars of the future.
The Golf Foundation is a nationally recognised charity that works with national partners to encourage young people to ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in the sport.
As a charity the Golf Foundation relies completely on the exceptional efforts of hundreds of junior organisers and ‘young leaders’ who mentor children new to golf, PGA Pros who take the game into schools, and the many families whose youngsters are discovering the game.
The Golf Foundation’s President, Sandy Jones, presented the ten awards, while the charity’s Chairman Stephen Lewis thanked The European Tour and Wentworth Club for staging the event and all the Foundation’s core funders and supporters for backing the charity throughout another year.
Stephen Lewis said: “It is a great honour to represent the Golf Foundation which works with so many people who care deeply about the game. We thank all the volunteers, PGA Professionals and all the golf clubs up and down the country who are inspiring the next generation of young golfers. Congratulations to all the very worthy winners of our awards and it is a privilege to hear your stories today.”
Golf Monthly would like to congratulate all the winners and thank them for the work they've put into growing our game.
Here were the winners:
The Critchley Award - celebrates a project that has taken golf into the community and encouraged more young people to take up the sport.
Winner - The 3 Hammers Golf Complex, near Wolverhampton.
Using a team of five PGA coaches, a par 3 golf course, 20 bay driving range and purpose-built 10,000 sq ft ‘Learn to Play Zone’ for children, the 3 Hammers has provided over 3,000 local youngsters with a taster session at the facility over the past year. More than 400 youngsters have completed the club’s six-week after-school programme as the venue acts as a successful feeder for the junior sections of local golf clubs. Some 20 of past students have gone on to become PGA Pros.
The Bonallack Award - presented to a project that has demonstrated a successful pathway from schools into club membership.
Winner - Ingleby Barwick Golf Academy led by Ross Jackson
PGA Professional Ross Jackson is at the heart of this scheme which works with a number of key partners.
- Over 3,000 pupils were taught in schools over two years;
- 200 of them received coaching at the golf facility;
- the club hosted 54 junior competitions over the course of 2015;
- a new junior specific teeing system was devised;
- and juniors were allocated their own area in the Bistro where they could ‘hang out, play games and have fun’.
The result – the club’s junior membership has grown from 20 to 60 in two years.
The Burroughs Award - presented to an individual who has made particular progress in golf in the face of personal challenges.
Winner - Jordan Rosser
Aged 16, Jordan has been recognised for thriving at his golf, playing with physical and learning disabilities, while as a volunteer he has also helped to make the sport more accessible for other young people in the community and at his golf club.
- Jordan has been Junior Captain at Rhondda GC and Junior Vice Captain at Bryn Meadows GC;
- he is a volunteer coach, who is highly respected by juniors and PGA coaches alike;
- he is a valued member of Golf Development Wales’s (GDW) Youth Panel;
- Jordan is part of the Swansea Inclusive Futures Project and was an inspirational speaker at this project’s camp.
On receiving his award, Jordan said he “really wanted to put something back into the game”.
The Gus Payne Award - presented to the golf club that has donated the most money to the charity in the last year
Winner - Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey.
Members at Walton Heath clubbed together to make voluntary donations and raise an impressive £3,746.
Brendon Pyle, Foundation Chief Executive, said: “The Golf Foundation is extremely grateful to the members, committee and club officials for their support. This is a club that really understands how a great club can make a great contribution to the future of the game.”
The Montgomerie Award - given to a young volunteer who has helped inspire other young people into golf
Winner - Emma Allison
Emma is aged 17, and volunteers at weekly coaching sessions at Morpeth Golf Club in Northumberland, alongside the PGA Head Professional Martyn Jobling.
She supports Martyn’s outreach work in schools using Golf Foundation ‘Tri-Golf’ and helps out at the local driving range during winter months.
Emma said of her coaching: “I really like volunteering as I was their age when I started so it’s really good to help them through the stages I have experienced. I feel like a friend as well as a coach.”
The Mackenzie Award - presented to a project that demonstrates how golf can be used to promote positive life messages to children and young people and even help change lives.
Winner - Alan Leason
Alan, of Sand Martins GC in Berkshire, used a HSBC Golf Roots Plus grant to tackle vandalism at the golf club by welcoming the young people involved into the club and making them ‘ambassadors’ for the venue.
Alan set up a Feel Inspired project, linking Sand Martins GC to a local Special Educational Needs (SEN) school. As a result, the club now offers a free scholarship to children with SEN.
The Feel Inspired programme has now been expanded to include nine golf clubs across three counties, all with links to local SEN schools. Alan coordinates taster sessions at each club and contacts parents to invite them to bring their children along. In addition, he has raised £25,000 to support the overall project.
The Sinclair Award - awarded each year to a leading PGA Professional.
Winners - Jonathan Pearson and Paul O’Donnell, of Cookridge Hall Golf Club, Leeds
Each received an ETIQUS golfer’s watch kindly donated by Gary Butler, with their awards.
In 2015, this pair coached 1,500 children in schools and community taster sessions, 400 entered through the gates of a golf club, 360 attended at least five weeks of coaching, and 25 new young members were created.
Eleven players under the age of 14 progressed into the Leeds and District training squad as part of Yorkshire Golf.
Some 150 youngsters have weekly golf lessons, including 60 girls; there are sessions for youngsters with disabilities and a satellite club for teenagers. Around 120 youngsters use the Junior Golf Passport on a weekly basis.
The Laddie Lucas Award - celebrates a project that has created more opportunities for girls with a strong link to the golf club.
Winner - Girls Golf Rocks in Essex
Over 90 girls were welcomed at weekend taster sessions. From this simple start, 31 girls played in a par 3 competition, 20 girls progressed into regular club coaching and six became a club member.
PGA coaches at four golf clubs across Essex delivered the project with the support of 12 Essex County girl players who volunteered to act as role models/ambassadors based on their own experiences in golf.
The Gallacher Award - acknowledges the work of the unsung hero, the willing volunteer, who commits so much of their own time and energy to ensure that young people love playing golf.
Winner - Judith Thornell, of Oswestry Golf Club
Judith became the club junior organiser in 1999. Her excellent work means:
- some 50-75 juniors regularly attend the club’s Junior Friday Night, coordinated by Judith and her team of volunteers;
- Judith then helps with the junior lessons for five to six hours on a Saturday;
- Judith promotes golf in the local community including a golf scheme with a girls’ football club, often funding activities out of her own pocket, e.g. team uniform, entry fees into competitions and prizes for junior competitions.
One parent summed her up: “A fantastic junior organiser”.
The Sir Henry Cotton Award - the Foundation’s most prestigious award, presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to junior golf over a sustained period of time.
Winner - David Owen of Knowle Golf Club, Bristol
Along with the fine trophy, David receives a special grant generously provided by the Stanley Morrison Charitable Trust and an ETIQUS golfer’s watch kindly donated by Gary Butler.
David Owen became Junior Organiser of Knowle GC in 1999, when his daughter Sally joined as a junior member.
There are now 23 girls in the junior section, compared to 22 boys, which certainly bucks the trend in golf clubs around the country.
Over 40 children under the age of 10 attend a Monday night academy session run by our recipient.
With the club situated beside one of the most deprived areas of the UK, David set up a support fund with the help of Knowle members, which ensures that finances are not a barrier to any child playing the game at this club. Five pupils from a local secondary school have been given free membership.
David is committed to introducing more players to the game and some of these players have gone on to enjoy success at the elite level. Players such as Hannah Barwood (England international and Curtis Cup player) and Jo Hodge (England international and multiple County Champion).
David Owen said: “I would like to thank the Golf Foundation on behalf of all those children out there who have received support and encouragement from the charity. As you can imagine, I am totally passionate about encouraging children to take up golf.”
David said being a Junior Organiser but is worth it “when you see that sense of joy and achievement on the faces of the children when they hit that ball for the first time in the air, straight and long, or when they hole an outrageous 30 foot putt.
“One final and very important thank you goes to my wife Jennifer who has shown me so much support."
Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. Elliott graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He is obsessed with the game and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey. His handicap index floats between 3-5. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Honma TR20
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Honma TR20B
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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