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England Golf Awards

Heroes of the club game celebrated at historic England Golf Awards

The governing body held a huge celebration to mark their centenary – and rewarded some of the club game’s hardest working volunteers

 

England Golf celebrated their 100th birthday in some style – at the place where it all began.

The governing body staged their Centenary Dinner and Awards at Manchester’s Midland Hotel, where the English Golf Union was first formed in 1924.

As part of an evening of celebrations, heroes of the club and amateur game were rewarded, while a dozen trailblazers were named to a new England Golf Hall of Fame.

Some 450 guests watched on as 11 different awards were handed out in an event hosted by former England Golf prodigy turned Sky Sports Golf presenter Nick Dougherty.

The Hall of Fame inductees were: Sir Michael Bonallack, Allison Nicholas, Gerald Micklem, Peter McEvoy, Trish Johnson, Gary Wolstenholme, Georgia Hall, Peter Alliss, Dame Laura Davies, Sir Nick Faldo, Bridget Jackson and Luke Donald. 

England Golf chief executive Jeremy Tomlinson said: “What a night it was at The Midland Manchester, not just in celebrating 100 years of England Golf and the Rose, but in continuing to recognise the amazing people across the game today, who make it what it is. 

“We received many fantastic nominations for clubs, volunteers and individuals across the country and we’d like to congratulate all of our finalists, and of course, our winners.

“I would also like thank Nick Dougherty who was an exceptional host, and we look forward to our next occasion in 2025.” 

Speaking at the event, Dougherty said: “It’s an honour for me to host the England Golf Centenary Dinner & Awards.

“There are so many people doing wonderful things in the game and it’s fitting that we recognise them on what is a special night celebrating 100 years of England Golf.”

Who are the England Golf Awards winners?

Club of the Year: Bedfordshire

Bedfordshire were recognised for their vibrant junior section, the way they integrate new members, and their commitment to sustainability.

General Manager Glenn Rayner said: “I can’t believe it. It’s a real honour to win this and it’s amazing for us and our members.

“Our members really value this award and it is for our volunteers and our staff. Our team is amazing and it’s a credit to the people who go out every day and do the job for nothing. It’s great for our club and our county.”

County of the Year: Devon Golf

Devon Golf were rewarded for their development programmes, with Golf Access supporting half the clubs in the county and, with the help of their volunteer network, two thriving development squads for boys and girls.

Devon Golf chair Nick James said: “Our biggest achievements have just been getting more people playing golf and we’ve done some great work getting our development squads together, getting more people out and involved in golf clubs, working collectively together for the purpose of the county.”

England Golf Awards

Diversity and Inclusion Champion: Nicola Bennett, Bush Hill Park, Hertfordshire

A qualified PGA Professional Coach at Bush Hill Park and Golf Foundation Ambassador, Nicola has been delivering golf in 15 North London primary and SEN schools, as well as community groups, for the past three years.

Of the 224 pupils she has coached in the last year, 61 per cent were from an ethnically diverse community, 56 per cent were girls, and 13 per cent had a disability.

She said: “It means a lot for me and my community of people from different ethnic minorities to be recognised.

“In this day and age, things are so difficult in terms of the pressures of things like social media and inflation, and it’s so important to embed strengths within young children so they can carry themselves in life, and just to be able to give them this through playing golf and learning mannerisms and etiquette, it really helps to make them strong-minded individuals and we need that more than ever.”

England Golf Awards – Participation and Development Coach of the Year: Alex MacGregor, Addington Court, Surrey

Dedicated to creating golf opportunities for everyone in his South London community, Alex MacGregor ran numerous projects last year – including engaging with more than 20 schools and community groups in delivering the sport to hundreds of children.

On winning the award, he said: “It’s a great feeling and spurs you on to achieve more. There are so many talented coaches and people trying to grow the game and it’s nice to be recognised on such a special night on the 100th year of England Golf. 

“There are so many talented people that want to grow the game through different avenues and to be recognised is a wonderful feeling in that you’re doing your bit to spread the love of golf.”

England Golf Awards

Performance of the Year: Kris Kim, Walton Heath

The 16-year-old produced a remarkable trio of victories when winning the Fairhaven Trophy, McGregor Trophy, and the R&A Boys’ Amateur Championship.

The Walton Heath golfer was also part of the England Boys & Girls team that won the Home Internationals, and helped Europe win the Junior Ryder Cup.

He said: “The British Boys Championship and the Junior Ryder Cup stick out for me. The result at the British Boys’ event got me into the Ryder Cup and the Ryder Cup was out of this world.

“That week was amazing and I’m so thankful to all the pros for talking to us, it was an unreal experience. When we got back home I got back to normal life and it felt very weird!”

Sustainability Project of the Year: Colmworth, Bedfordshire

Colmworth provide surrounding wildlife with sanctuaries around the course and plant a tree for every couple who get married at their wedding venue.

They have hugely reduced their use of pesticides and fungicides and their healthy ponds are home to a vast array of wildlife.

Tilly Vesly, Colmworth owner, said: “We’re just overwhelmed. We’re a little family-run club and it means the world that we’ve got some recognition for our little team and we hope to inspire other clubs that they can make a difference.”

England Golf Awards

Tournament Venue of the Year: Shifnal, Shropshire

Shifnal hosted the English Girls’ U16/U14 Championship in August, with the course hailed for its immaculate condition, and were helped by more than 60 volunteers.

Frank Gardner, Shifnal Match Director, said: “It’s a culmination of three years of hard work from the point of being awarded with the tournament to the time we hosted it.

“We’ve achieved a lot over the past 12 months with a good turnover of staff showing great improvement of the course and an enhanced reputation as a result of hosting this tournament and we’ve brought the club together.”

England Golf Awards – Volunteer of the Year: Abi Frodsham, Wallasey, Cheshire

Abi delivered golf to more than 500 children in nine schools and, as acting junior organiser at Wallasey, marketed and delivered the Girls Golf Rocks programme. At Leasowe, she also supported community sessions for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

She said: “It was a really nice surprise and I was a bit nervous walking up in front of all those people, but it was cool.

“It drives me to want to do even more and it’s nice to be recognised but it’s not for the recognition that we do it, it’s for the other people that we’re supporting and helping along the way.”

England Golf Awards

Women & Girls’ Trailblazer: Jersey Ladies Golf Development Group

Formed after some of the island’s smaller clubs reached out for support in recruiting new female members, Les Mielles, Les Ormes and St Clements came together to host taster sessions to encourage non-golfers and returning players.

Some 68 ladies have attended the sold-out series and 23 players have joined one of the three clubs.

Juanita Adlington, Jersey Golf President, said: “I didn’t think we would win this but it’s truly deserved for all the ladies and volunteers that work so hard to make it such a success.

“They’re all from proprietary clubs who have trouble to course access, so having done this by themselves and picking up new members, their clubs are thriving, so this is a huge recognition.”

Young Volunteer of the Year: Freya Allen, Elsham, Lincolnshire

The 12-year-old has helped with weekly junior coaching at her club and Girls Golf Rocks. She started out in the game herself through Girls Golf Rocks and was keen to be an ambassador and give back to younger players.

She said: “It means everything to me and I’m so proud of myself. It’s a great achievement – I don’t even know how to explain it!

“What I feel like I’ve learned is that I can lead. The most rewarding thing has been seeing the kids having a good time and coming back every week.”

England Golf Awards

Lifetime Service Award: Graham McCormack, Cheshire

Involved in junior golf in Cheshire for more than four decades, he has run the Mid Cheshire Junior League, has served on the Cheshire Union of Golf Clubs executive, and has seen many youngsters under his stewardship reach a higher level in the game.

“When I see juniors coming through, they all improve,” he said. “There’s only a handful at the end who go on to make the very top but at the end of it all, if their handicap has come down, they’ve learned a lot, and they learn life skills, which is what it’s all about.

“It’s not just about golf, but we teach them to lose and how to handle losing.”

Now have your say on the England Golf Awards

Has your enjoyment of golf been helped by any of the England Golf Awards winners? Why not let me know by leaving a comment on X?

Picture courtesy of Leaderboard Photography

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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