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November 8, 2022

70 years of golf… Sir Henry still gleaming

To help celebrate the 70th anniversary day for the Golf Foundation recently, golfing medals and memorabilia relating to Sir Henry Cotton were shown to an appreciative audience at London Golf Club, by David Wright of The Professional Golfers’ Association.

As a founder of the Golf Foundation in 1952, Sir Henry’s philosophy in helping youngsters in the 1950’s continued: the charity of today encourages young people from all backgrounds to enjoy golf; its team understanding that golf can change young lives.

David Wright, The PGA’s Heritage and Member Support Executive, was at London Golf Club to represent all the members of The PGA who support the Golf Foundation in this major objective. The Foundation works with hundreds of PGA coaches each year in schools, communities and golf clubs and the PGA coach is central to each project’s success.

Sir Henry himself was a passionate coach following a playing career that saw him win three Open Championships (1934, 1937, 1948).

Golf Foundation CEO Brendon Pyle said: “We greatly value the highly supportive PGA Professionals who are at the heart of all our programmes, and it was fantastic to hear through David again that The PGA shares our high esteem for Sir Henry Cotton. Sir Henry was an innovator like so many PGA Pro’s, looking to the future by investing in young golfers.”

Following award presentations on the day to some of the excellent supporters of the junior game, David gave a brief talk to the audience about the golf items on view, featuring Henry Cotton medals which included:

– Sir Henry’s 1937 Open Gold Medal from Carnoustie – awarded by The R&A;

– The 1948 Ryle Memorial Gold Medal, presented by The PGA to a member if they win The Open;  

– and the 1948 Tooting Bec medal, presented to the PGA member born in, or with parents born in, the UK and Ireland who returned the low 18-hole score at that year’s Open Championship (Cotton scored a 66 in the second round at Muirfield).

David Wright also brought along a wristwatch presented to Cotton by the PGA of America in celebration of the 1947 Ryder Cup Match at Portland Golf Club in Oregon, USA.

In addition, a bronze bust of Sir Henry, created in 1960 (artist unknown), surveyed the room of Foundation supporters in 2022. The queue by dinner guests to look more closely at the medals perhaps indicates the importance of history in the game for many golfers still today.

David Wright said:When reflecting on Sir Henry’s contribution to the game’s overall development, his commitment is right up there with the Association’s founding fathers Taylor, Braid and Vardon in 1901. This is certainly highlighted by his introduction of the Golf Foundation in 1952, the game’s strongest charitable arm focusing on the development of junior golf in this country.”

On this celebratory day, key awards were given to excellent supporters of the junior game. Ivan Oliver, a leading PGA coach in East Yorkshire, was honoured for introducing the game to thousands of youngsters. Ivan was presented with the Charles Harrison Award by the Foundation’s new President Nick Dougherty.

Henry Cotton would surely have approved, as he would no doubt be delighted to see Nick Dougherty, a former ‘Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year’ on the then European Tour (now DP World Tour), making this presentation on his first day as the charity’s new and youngest President; a day celebrating 70 years, while looking ahead to the next 70 years.

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