Inspirational figures honoured by England Golf

Inaugural England Golf awards see country's most inspirational characters recognised.

The inspirational winners of the first England Golf Awards were honoured for their contribution to the sport and to growing the game.

They were celebrated at a gala dinner for their activities which support the England Golf strategy, Raising Our Game.

The strategy calls on those who care about the sport to work together and create a brighter future for the game in England. It aims to include more members, more players, stronger clubs and identifying and developing winning golfers.
‘It has been hard work, but it’s been very rewarding’ The award winners were:

Young Volunteer of the Year

Jake Conroy, 19, of Little Hay in Hertfordshire was presented with the award by Brendon Pyle, chief executive of the Golf Foundation. Conroy has cerebral palsy but champions both junior and disability golf and spends much of his time volunteering.

“I never expected to get anything for volunteering,” said Jake. “I enjoy doing it, I get a massive buzz from it. It’s good to see people with smiles on their faces.”

Volunteer of the Year

Margaret Bedford, of Strawberry Hill in Middlesex, was presented with the award by England Golf board member Judi Walker.

Bedford said: “I can’t believe it, this was such a surprise and such an honour and so I’m delighted for my club. I just love volunteering.”

Lifetime Service Award

Anne Herbert, of Gosforth Park Ladies in Northumberland, was presented with the award by England Golf president Nigel Evans

Herbert recently retired as president of the Northumberland Ladies’ Association and said: “I’m very thrilled and very honoured. I am also very lucky because I enjoy volunteering and I never expected to be thanked for it.”

Talent Pathway Award

Gareth Snelgrove of Hagley in Worcestershire was presented with the award by England Golf performance director Nigel Edwards.

PGA coach Snelgrove has created a pathway which offers school pupils a taste of the game, with the emphasis on fun, and follow up opportunities for coaching in the club’s junior academy and club membership.

“If we keep persevering with this system it will help to grow the game in Worcestershire and, hopefully, across the country as a whole,” he said.

Participation Award

Scott Rusbridge and Tom Hide of the Coastal Golf Academy in Essex were presented with the award by Sport England chief executive Jennie Price.

The PGA professionals run their academy at Frinton, Millers Barn, Harwich and Colne Valley and aim to inspire golfers to play the game and become members.

Rusbridge said: “It’s an honour to be recognised by England Golf and it’s a reward for our efforts which makes us even more enthusiastic to carry on.”

Membership Award

Ken Wilson of Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire was presented with the award by Richard Flint, England Golf’s director of participation and club support.

Wilson said: “It’s a great honour for me to be recognised nationally. It has been hard work, but it’s been very rewarding.”

Modernisation Award

Mark Rozenbroek of One Stop Golf in Hull was presented with the award by Martin Slumbers, incoming chief executive of the R&A.

Rozenbroek achieved his dream of creating the ‘ultimate golf gaming centre’, where people of all ages and abilities can enjoy the game. “It’s fantastic to be recognised by England Golf and winning a national award is special.” he said.

GolfMark Club of the Year

Windlesham in Surrey was presented with the award by Stuart Gower of Cobra Puma Golf and Andy Willems, England Golf senior regional manager.

Windlesham won the award following extensive work to get juniors and beginners into the game. General manager Stuart Gower said: “Part of our vision is to continuously improve and GolfMark is a key part of that. It has helped us put procedures in place, helped us grow our membership and helped us develop as a sustainable business.”

Coaching achievement award

Graham Walker of The Oaks in Yorkshire was presented with the award by Steve Parrish, chairman of the England Golf Performance committee.

Walker was honoured for his many achievements as lead coach to the national men’s squad.

“This is a massive achievement for me and I’m immensely proud,” he said. “I love working with the players and getting them to improve to become the best they can be.”

London Pride Steward of the Year

Samantha Hudson of Swaffham in Norfolk was presented with her award by England Golf chairman Graham Yates.

The judges said Hudson was a steward who was literally prepared to go the extra mile for her club – she’s preparing to run a marathon this year to raise funds for their charity.

“This means the world to me, I can’t think of anywhere better to work” she said. “I’d like to thank everyone who who voted for me and especially to thank my team. I couldn’t do it without their backing and their support. This is for everyone who helps run the clubhouse and also goes the extra mile.”

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