Welsh champion Evan Griffiths is looking to build on home success to challenge more at a national level, after claiming the Golf Union of Wales Amateur Player of the Year Award.
While Pwllheli's Grace Roberts was rewarded for her remarkable work developing junior golf in Caernarfonshire with the Volunteer of the Year award in a glittering ceremony at Ryder Cup Venue Celtic Manor, sponsored by golf club membership finance company Future Financials and attended by deputy minister for culture, sport and tourism Ken Skates AM.
Griffiths won the Welsh Amateur Championships, as well as the Trubshaw Cup and the Clwyd Open, also helping Wales to a close second in the Home Internationals - losing out to winners Ireland by a single match.
“I am really proud of this award, especially when you look at the names of the players who have won it in the past,” said Griffiths, from North Wales golf club. Amy Boulden has won it for the last four years and she is from the same club as me, so it is great to have a couple of players from Conwy on the list.
“My goal for the coming year is to push on in the British events, I feel I have done much of what I wanted to achieve in Wales, including winning the main one of being Welsh Amateur Champion. Now I want to push on at national level, for instance I will target trying to go further in the British Amateur. I see myself as a good matchplay player if I can come through the stroke play stage.
“The Home Internationals last year were disappointing even though the team did really well. We came second but we could have won for the first time for a long time. To have come that close was a disappointment but hopefully we will have a strong team this year and will be able to go one better.”
When Grace Roberts took over as junior organiser at Pwllheli golf club in 2008 there were only four junior members, now there are around 130 as she has led a remarkable turnaround which earned her the Volunteer of the Year Award.
“I am truly honoured to be here today, but I have to thank all the children and the parents because without their support we would not have a junior section,” said Roberts. I was on the putting green one day when someone came up to me and congratulated me on being the new junior organiser. That was news to me, but I was given a chequebook, a manilla envelope and four names – that was that.
“I did some research and found the Golf Development Wales website and got some structure from there. I have had a lot of support from Dilwyn Griffiths in North Wales and Sian Simmons in the office. I got in touch with primary schools and got a huge influx from schools in the area and then it took off through word of mouth, which is the best way.
“Some of the boys represent the county and there are two playing for North Wales as well, so there is progression into the men's competitions. It is hard work, but it is rewarding. When you see our presentation night the place is choc-a-bloc and when you see the child's faces coming up to get an award – they are just as good as my face today!
“To see a child smiling because they have achieved something is the best reward you can get. To get this as well is a huge honour, but it is a team effort. We are very lucky with the members, but also our professional Stuart Pilkington and his family. I learn things from him as well, so the sessions are really interesting.
“I would not be able to carry on without the support of my husband, all our family are keen golfers.”
Ryder Cup star Jamie Donaldson was the Golf Union of Wales Touring Professional of the Year, Tenby were the Club of the Year, and Gower's Nicola Stroud the Golf Development Wales PGA Professional of the Year.