It was celebration time last night when players, volunteers, clubs, counties and coaches got together to recognise all that’s great about golf in England.
About 500 guests attended the England Golf Awards 2018, sponsored by Bridgestone, and applauded the achievements which are helping to grow the game.
The winners included a 23-year-old golf club captain who is helping to change the image of the game, a golf coach who is transforming lives through golf, clubs which go over and above to welcome new players and value existing members, a county which is proving that golf is modernising, volunteers who are the backbone of the game and players, led by Tommy Fleetwood, who have produced outstanding performances.
Nick Pink, Chief Executive of England Golf, told guests at the Royal Lancaster London: “Tonight is a real celebration, a time to shout about all the really exciting achievements in golf.
“We’ve got so much to be proud of – our finalists and winners are amazing and their stories deserve to be told far beyond the golf community. And, behind them is a whole army of volunteers, coaches, clubs and counties who are also making a huge difference.''
“We have an enormously exciting future ahead, with lots going on to change the image of the game. By working together we can build on all our achievements and spread the message that golf really is a game for all, with huge benefits for everyone.”
The award winners were:
Most Welcoming Club of the Year, sponsored by American Golf: Golf at Goodwood, Sussex. This clubs gets out and about in Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey to take the game to new players, it looks after and listens to its visitors and members and last year it was rewarded with almost 300 new members.
Young Ambassador of the Year, presented in association with the Golf Foundation: Liam Ridgill of Drax Golf Club, Yorkshire. The 23-year-old club captain is changing the perception of the game and, with his can-do attitude and marketing and media skills, is helping attract new members.
Championship Venue of the Year, sponsored by Travelbag: Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club, Suffolk. This club hosted the English Women’s County Championship and won the award thanks to the massive enthusiasm of their staff and volunteers, their attention to detail and their exceptional support.
Volunteer of the Year, sponsored by Players 1st:
Jean Hooper of Bramley Golf Club, Surrey. Jean has built up a brilliant junior section and tirelessly encourages, supports and integrates the youngsters in the club. Jean is one of about 50,000 golf volunteers in the country who are the backbone of the sport.
County of the Year, sponsored by SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC: Middlesex. 2017 was a landmark year for Middlesex when the women’s association and men’s union merged to form a unified county, speaking with one voice for all its clubs and players.
Club of the Year, sponsored by Howdidido: Leeds Golf Centre. The centre’s open door policy helped it to an amazing year when it welcomed new golfers and members, made improvements and planned even more, which could create 30 new jobs.
Coach of the Year, sponsored by The PGA: Matthew Turnock of Mottram Hall Golf Club, Cheshire. Matthew has inspired thousands of children and adults to get into golf, he supports new and improving players and he works with stroke survivors and disability groups.
Performance of the Year: Tommy Fleetwood. It’s only a few years since Fleetwood was English amateur champion and playing in England teams. Now he’s the European Tour’s Number One, having won the 2017 Race to Dubai – and followed up by defending the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Today's English amateurs also had a memorable year. Read more
Rising Star Award: Lily May Humphreys of Stoke by Nayland Golf Club, Essex. The 15-year-old had a sensational 2017 season when she won five titles. She’s one to watch. Read more
Lifetime Service Award, sponsored by Bridgestone: Anders Mankert of Cosby Golf Club, Leicestershire. Anders changes lives through golf. For the last 20 years he has given his services, for free, to coach and support blind and visually impaired players. He also offers an annual scholarship to develop a young golfer.