Thanks to support from the European Tour, a total of 10 awards were presented in Wentworth Club’s elegant Ballroom to individuals and group projects who exemplify how junior golf can flourish for the good of all. A major theme of the day was how the teaching of life skills through golf can help young people to thrive in the wider aspects of their lives, and this ‘Skills for Life’ message resounded in every award category.
On the eve of the BMW PGA Championship, a packed audience of nearly 200 applauded as Emma Anderson, England Golf’s Young Ambassador of the Year, opened the proceedings with a speech about how she has been inspired by the game.
Emma said: “Golf is a great sport for girls because it helps grow their confidence, it certainly has for me! It can teach girls how to interact with people of all ages and backgrounds, with the values the game promotes being useful in so many different areas. To encourage more girls to take up the sport, it is crucial to grow the inclusive atmosphere at golf clubs, allowing everyone to feel welcome and comfortable in any club.”
This highly positive opening set the scene in which award winners spoke passionately about their work and the audience enjoyed videos of dynamic junior golf progress to modernise and grow the game. Foundation President Sandy Jones presented each award trophy and Chairman Stephen Lewis echoed the need to encourage the next generation of golfers so they can experience the fun and friendship of a sport they can play for their whole lives.
And as the 10 award winners each took to the stage they heard some ‘swing’ by the band from Claydon High School, near Ipswich, itself a school typical of thousands now playing golf as a sport and following a path into regular club golf as part of the Foundation’s HSBC Golf Roots programme, which sees more and more youngsters ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in the game.
Chief Executive Brendon Pyle introduced the awards by saying: “When Sir Henry Cotton helped set up this charity in 1952 he recognised the wider value of the sport and how it can bring out the best in young people. Today is a celebration of the inspirational work that is being done to help young people enjoy the personal and playing benefits of golf.”
Chairman Stephen Lewis said: “All the winners here today embody the values of our charity and the people behind these projects are really very special. They all recognise that our children represent the future of the game and that in turn golf can help nurture good citizens, so it is an absolute privilege to be here to meet them. This day wouldn’t be possible without the support of the European Tour and also all of our core supporters who are helping us to make great progress in opening up the game to more youngsters from all backgrounds and abilities.”
Foundation President Sandy Jones added: “This is one of our most wonderful days of the year as we all feel inspired to be part of this dynamic group. The desire and commitment to support young people shines through in every case and makes me feel they are making the game better now, and for the future.”
Here are the Presidents’ Awards (click on individual award for more information about the winners):
The Critchley Award
Presented to a project that has taken golf into the community and made the sport available to any young person.
WINNER: Palace For Life Foundation for its success in creating opportunities for young golfers and developing junior players in its community.
The Bonallack Award
Presented to a project that has helped young people to ‘Start, Learn, Stay’ in golf.
WINNER: Pyle & Kenfig Golf Club for creating a pathway that has resulted in a significant increase in junior membership at the golf facility.
The Montgomerie Award
Presented to a young volunteer, in recognition of his/her time and effort spent supporting junior development.
WINNER: Hannah Chaudry, a young volunteer at Northcliffe Golf Club in Yorkshire, who has helped to run the junior academy and summer camp sessions and organised the club’s junior fundraising day for the last two years, last year raising £1,000.
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: The Sheffield Inclusive Golf project provided fully accessible and inclusive golf sessions for a group of young people with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities. A Special Olympics Golf Club was then formed to offer participants the opportunity to take part in the Special Olympics National Games which will be held in Sheffield later this year.
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: Enfield Golf Club and Captain Phil Tiddy for their generous contribution of just under £9,000 raised by adopting the Golf Foundation as the Captain’s Charity.
The Mackenzie Award
Presented to a project or individual that has successfully integrated Skills for Life into its work with young people.
WINNER: AL Junior Academies led by PGA Pro Aaron Lansberry for promoting life skills to over 120 children from all backgrounds at three golf clubs in Warwickshire.
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 (ETIQUS golfer’s watch kindly donated by Gary Butler as prize).
WINNER: Matt Edgar from Horton Park Golf Club in Surrey for engaging with many young people to develop a thriving junior section.
The 'Laddie' Lucas Award
Presented to a project that has created more opportunities for girls to play golf.
WINNER: Cottingham Parks Golf Club 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: Steven Bowers, who has been a committed volunteer supporting the junior section at Northampton Golf Club.
Steve gives up many hours of his time each week to build and develop the junior section of his club, which has grown significantly both in terms of membership and its breadth of offering.
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 receives a grant kindly provided by the Stanley Morrison Charitable Trust and an ETIQUS golfer’s watch kindly donated by Gary Butler.
WINNER: David Franklin who has encouraged and supported youngsters at Epsom Club in Surrey since 2002.