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February 15, 2024

Proud To Make An Impact At England Golf Centenary Awards

We were delighted to join England Golf at their 100th anniversary awards event in Manchester, as the great and the good of the game were celebrated as part of a special evening.

Hosted by Golf Foundation President Nick Dougherty, the awards welcomed 450 guests and recognised heroes from across the country who have gone above and beyond to make the game of golf what it is today. 

There were 11 category winners announced each with a unique story to tell, while nine of those categories were nominated for by the public, before 46 judges from the golf industry and golf media examined the nominations to whittle them down to one winner per category. 

Several of the awards saw junior golf in the spotlight, with the Golf Foundation represented both among the winners, nominees and presentation themselves – while the Unleash Your Drive in Schools initiative was celebrated throughout the evening. As co-authors of the Junior Golf Strategy, England Golf and the Golf Foundation are aligned in growing the game to young people from all backgrounds.

Nicola Bennett, Golf Foundation ambassador, was crowned the Diversity & Inclusion Champion, celebrating her delivery of the game to 15 North London primary and SEN schools, as well as community groups. “It means a lot for me and my community of people from different ethnic minorities to be recognised,” Bennett said after picking up her trophy.

Nicola goes above and beyond her local remit, attending community golf festivals in Birmingham and central London, while in the past year, of the 224 pupils she coached, 61 per cent were from an ethnically diverse community, 56 per cent were girls, and 13 per cent had a disability. “I hope to increase participation and to make golf a lot more inclusive,” she added. “There’s still a lack of BAME minorities in golf and I hope different organisations and firms can do things to help change this.”

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Meanwhile, Alex Macgregor was named Participation and Development coach of the year, as his work with young people was also celebrated. Surrey-based MacGregor is dedicated to creating golf opportunities to everyone in the community of South London, and was one of the PGA coaches who helped with the Golf Foundation’s Unleash Your Drive initiative during its pilot stages in clubs. He engaged with over 20 schools and community groups in 2023 – over 65 per cent of the people he coached in 2023 were from ethnic minority backgrounds and 60 per cent were female. “The most rewarding part has been people staying for sessions and coming back week on week,” MacGregor said, “such as the ladies, juniors and seniors. If they come back week after week then we’ve created a community that want to come and play a sport they can socialise in, so that’s a rewarding feeling. I just want to spread the word that golf is a great game and to try and change some of the stereotypes that have been attached to it.”

Elsewhere, 12-year-old Freya Allen was arguably the most impressive winner of the night, as the youngster fought tears of joy when she picked up the Young Volunteer of the Year award for her work at Elsham Golf Club – an award sponsored by the Golf Foundation, and presented on the evening by our Chair Steven Day. Allen supports around four hours of coaching and on-course activities weekly – in which she will proactively take registers, has come out of her comfort zone to deliver demonstrations, encourages and supports the juniors, and helps to pack away and tidy up.

She also supported with taking videos and photos during a Girls Golf Rocks session which was used to help promote the activity.

“I just want to get more people into the game,” she said. “I think we need to get more girls into it and we need to get golf into more schools.”

Freya’s message for anyone looking to pick up a club for the first time was: “Do it! Just go for it! I love it because it’s all about making friends and having a good time.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. An incredible evening, and an incredible way to keep spreading the Golf Foundation message. Well done to all the award winners and nominees.

“It was such a privilege to see so many young people touched by the Golf Foundation who are succeeding in so many different ways,” said Golf Foundation CEO Brendon Pyle. “There are some really special young people out there helping to change the game for the next generation, and it’s fantastic to see some of them get the recognition they deserve, even if they’re not seeking it. What an event – massive congratulations to England Golf for hosting a memorable celebration of our sport at all levels!”

Full List Of Award Winners

Club of the Year (sponsored by DotGolf) – Bedfordshire GC (Bedfordshire)

County of the Year (sponsored by Marsh) – Devon Golf

Diversity and Inclusion Champion (sponsored by Citation) – Nicola Bennett (Bush Hill Park GC, Hertfordshire)

Participation and Development Coach of the Year – Alex MacGregor (Addington Court GC, Surrey)

Performance of the Year (sponsored by Performance 54) – Kris Kim (Walton Heath GC, Surrey)

Sustainability Project of the Year (sponsored by Zellar) – Colmworth GC (Bedfordshire)

Tournament Venue of the Year (sponsored by FlightScope) – Shifnal GC (Shropshire)

Volunteer of the Year – Abi Frodsham (Wallasey GC, Cheshire)

Women and Girls’ Trailblazer (sponsored by Your Golf Travel) – Jersey Ladies Golf Development Group 

Young Volunteer of the Year (supported by the Golf Foundation) – Freya Allen (Elsham GC, Lincolnshire)

Lifetime Service Award – Graham McCormack (Birchwood GC, Cheshire)

Hall of Fame inductees: Sir Michael Bonallack, Allison Nicholas, Gerald Micklem, Peter McEvoy, Trish Johnson, Gary Wolstenholme, Georgia Hall, Peter Alliss, Dame Laura Davies, Sir Nick Faldo, Bridget Jackson, Luke Donald. 

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