The Golf Foundation staged its Presidents’ Awards at Wentworth, celebrating the “inspiring” volunteers and professionals who through their passion and hard work are helping this national charity to change the lives of young people by introducing them to golf.
Thanks to the European Tour and Wentworth Club, the ceremony was held again in Wentworth’s elegant Ballroom, where a packed audience of 200 invited guests heard the stories of groundbreaking golf projects and unique individuals in junior golf. After being welcomed onto the stage by Bishopsgate School Choir (which has a thriving golf programme in Surrey), Chairman of the Golf Foundation Stephen Lewis congratulated all of the prize winners for their “fantastic support in giving their time for others”. Stephen also thanked the core funders for supporting this child-centred charity, making reference to The R&A, who in the past year has committed to support the Foundation over the next four years.
Golf Foundation CEO Brendon Pyle then told the audience: “In 1952, Sir Henry Cotton, Raymond Oppenheimer and Gerald Micklemcreated the Golf Foundation to make golf more accessible to young people. They recognised the wider value of the sport and how it can bring out the best in young people. Today is a celebration of the fantastic work that is being done to change the lives of young people through an introduction to golf and to develop a life-long love of the sport."
"You will hear from dedicated volunteers, innovative PGA Coaches and the committed young players themselves who are inspiring their peers and the next generation.”
This year the awards were expertly led by Channel 4 television presenter Kerr Drummond, who recently agreed to become an Ambassador for the charity in the same year that Ladies European Tour players Felicity Johnson and Meghan MacLaren (currently competing in France) joined the charity, as did European Tour favourite Graeme Storm, who was also present at Wentworth to celebrate the prize winners and hand over the trophies.
Kerr Drummond said: “I actually remember playing in the Golf Foundation’s junior championships… so when I heard about some of the great work that the Golf Foundation was doing to make the game more accessible to youngsters of all backgrounds, I thought ‘I’d really like to be a part of that’. In my opinion, the game of golf has the ability to improve lives. It’s fantastic for both your physical and mental health. I honestly believe that I wouldn’t have achieved nearly as much as I have in life if it wasn’t for golf. So, in my opinion, it’s very important that this amazing game we love is available to all, not just the lucky few whose parents or grandparents introduce them to the game.”
Graeme Storm said: “I have really enjoyed giving something back to the sport by being welcomed into many schools in the North East; introducing hundreds of youngsters to golf with the Golf Foundation. We have been coaching these boys and girls and then encouraging many to try golf with the support of local golf clubs."
"It is great to see the benefits being made in the community and in the lives of the youngsters themselves.”
Graeme then presented all the trophies except one: the ‘Laddie’ Lucas Award for a strong girls project was presented by special guest, social media influencer and champion of girls golf, The Jazzy Golfer, who, after playing in the BMW PGA Pro-Am on the Wentworth course, kindly hot-footed to the clubhouse to join the proceedings, much appreciated by the whole audience.
Other special guests on the stage included Archie Qualtrough, a 13-year-old member of Woodhall Spa Golf Club, who received an England Golf Young Ambassadors ‘Hero’s Handshake’ this summer, in recognition of his tireless work in raising money for charity. Archie came on stage with the remarkable PGA Professional Luke Willett. Luke, known as The Iron Golfer and based at Hampstead Golf Club, is soon embarking on a gruelling 800-mile bike ride around all 14 Open Championship venues and playing them all in 10 days, all to raise money for the Golf Foundation.
To see the full list of President Awards visit: golf-foundation.org