The Golf Foundation Presidents’ Awards at Wentworth on Wednesday (23rd of May) celebrated the “fantastic people at the heart of junior golf” – the volunteers and professionals who selflessly give their time to help young people to enjoy the benefits of golf.
Thanks to support from the European Tour, the ceremony was held again this year in Wentworth Club’s elegant Ballroom, where the event’s largest ever audience heard the stories of 10 award winners and their projects – some of whom have been through positive but highly emotional journeys thanks to golf.
The Golf Foundation is the nationally recognised charity that works with national partners to encourage young people to ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in the sport. Its HSBC Golf Roots programme reaches 500,000 youngsters a year, creating a pathway from discovering golf in schools and the community to playing regular golf at golf clubs. The charity offers boys and girls the opportunity to enjoy all aspects of the sport with an emphasis on ‘Skills for Life’ learning to support young people as they develop, both on and off the course.
The Presidents’ Awards ceremony was teed up perfectly by Emma Anderson and Ali Jodiyawalla, who are members of the England Young Ambassadors group. Ali and Emma spoke eloquently, while 10 ‘Presidents’ Awards’ were presented by the charity’s current President, Sandy Jones. Each award winner was serenaded with an appropriate song by the brilliant Windsor Academy Trust Choir from Halesowen; not only great singers but an academy with a strong golfing pedigree.
Golf Foundation Chairman Stephen Lewis thanked all the charity’s core funders and supporters for backing the charity. He said: “We are hugely grateful to everyone who chooses to support us. Without this help our team wouldn’t be able to make the progress with so many local projects and many of these great award winners wouldn’t be able to express their enthusiasm and passion in helping some of the fantastic young people here today.”
Chief Executive Brendon Pyle talked the audience through the award winners. He added: “We received so many brilliant nominations which shows just how much is being done in golf clubs, schools and communities to encourage youngsters into the game. The people on stage today represent all the fantastic people at the heart of junior golf.”
The Awards included:
The Critchley Award
Presented to a project that has taken golf into the community and made the sport available to any young person.
WINNER: Chapelton Primary School and Broadlees Golf Club’s (Strathaven, Scotland) Inter-Disciplinary Learning Project for its success in creating opportunities for young golfers in its community.
The Bonallack Award
Presented to a project that has helped young people to ‘Start, Learn, and Stay’ in golf.
WINNER: Coastal Golf Academy at Frinton Golf Club, Essex, for creating a pathway that has resulted in a significant increase in junior membership.
The Montgomerie Award
Presented to a young volunteer, in recognition of his/her time and effort spent supporting junior development.
WINNER: Emily Furniss, a young volunteer at Gaudet Luce Golf Club in Worcestershire, who enthusiastically supports young golfers to develop in the sport.
The Burroughs Award
Presented to an individual who has made particular progress in golf in the face of adversity or a project that has made efforts to create opportunities for those with special needs.
WINNER: Darren Game, PGA Professional at Bourne Golf Centre, for his commitment to promote and grow inclusive golf at the Lincolnshire golf facility.
The Gus Payne Award
Presented to the golf club that donates the most amount of money in support of the Golf Foundation’s activities.
WINNER: Andrew Kemp and Beadlow Manor Golf Club (Bedfordshire) for the club’s generous donation of £4,500.
The Mackenzie Award
Presented to a project or individual that has successfully integrated Skills for Life into its work with young people.
WINNER: Abhisaran Singh Sohal, from Strawberry Hill Golf Club in London, for demonstrating the personal skills that golf can help foster.
The Sinclair Award
Presented to a PGA professional who, as a direct result of his/her efforts, has made a significant impact in the development of grass roots junior golf. The winner also receives an ETIQUS golfer’s watch kindly donated by Gary Butler.
WINNER: Zachery Marsh, from Mark Janes Golf Academy at Tonbridge Golf Centre in Kent, for introducing hundreds of young people to the sport.
The ‘Laddie’ Lucas Award
Presented to a project that has created more opportunities for girls to play golf.
WINNER: Elsham Golf Club’s ‘This Girl Golfs’ North Lincolnshire project for engaging more beginner girls into golf by working with the local sports partnership and secondary schools.
The Gallacher Award
Presented to a volunteer who, as a direct result of his/her efforts, has made a significant impact in the development of grass roots junior golf.
WINNER: Thomas Bowen, who has been a committed volunteer supporting the junior section at North Wales Golf Club.
The Sir Henry Cotton Award
Presented to an individual who has demonstrated meritorious service to junior golf for a sustained period. The winner of this award will receive a grant kindly provided by the Stanley MorrisonTrust. The winner also receives an ETIQUS golfer’s watch kindly donated by Gary Butler.
WINNER: Barry Chapman, who has encouraged and supported youngsters in his role as Junior Organiser at Woodhall Spa Golf Club, for over 29 years.