Monty rewards junior heroes27th May, 2012 by Emma Williams
Colin Montgomerie has taken time out from attending the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth to reward golfing enthusiasts who have gone the extra mile in introducing the game to children.
Montgomerie, the only man to have ever won the event three times in a row, was handing out prizes on behalf of the junior golf charity, the Golf Foundation, which he is the president of, for its annual ‘President’s Awards’. He presented a junior organiser with a lifetime achievement award, recognised the youngest club captain in Britain and showcased a golf club that raised nearly 20 times the average amount for the charity.
The winners included Ina Murphy of Fulford Heath Golf Club in Birmingham, who was handed the Sir Henry Cotton award for long-term service to junior golf.
Ina, who has achieved PGA Level 1 Coach status, has been a junior organiser for the last 10 years and has generated links within the local community where, with a colleague, she provides coaching to a number of primary and secondary schools using Tri-Golf and her own collection of clubs for older children.
Ina was the junior organiser for Worcestershire for three years and now has special responsibility for promoting county coaching to junior girls aged eight to 17.
Golf Foundation chief executive Mike Round said: “Often awards like this go to well-known or high profile individuals, but our winner comes from the army of volunteers who give up their own time for the benefit of others.”
Elsewhere, the Mackenzie Award, earned by an initiative that shows how golf can be used to promote positive life messages, was won by The Swingz Project in Liverpool. In 2011, Everton Football Club, The Golf Academy and Liverpool City Council came together to run a golf project in Norris Green. PGA Professional Craig Thomas gained the trust of local children and when they learned the golf basics they enjoyed the facilities at North Golf Course for the first time. Disabled youngsters have also been supported and a clear pathway has been created for those children showing an interest in the sport.
The Gus Payne Award, awarded to the club that raises the most money for the Golf Foundation’s initiatives, was won by Royal Worlington and Newmarket Golf Club. The club raised £4,000 for the Golf Foundation, compared with the national average of £22 per club. Royal Worlington and Newmarket’s president, Dai Rowley-Jones, decided to have a charity day and nominated the Golf Foundation as the beneficiary.
The Bonallack Award for a great schools programme was presented to Bridlington School Sport Partnership and Flamborough Head Golf Club in Yorkshire, demonstrating very clearly what is possible when teachers and PGA Professionals work together.
In 2011, 10 primary schools received coaching in curriculum time and in after-school clubs and 857 children were introduced to golf using Tri-Golf equipment. Sixteen young volunteers helped in this process. A total of 330 children in secondary schools were given the opportunity to try golf using Golf Xtreme, many sampling the new ‘Super Sixes’ format, and 80 children progressed from the schools activity to a coaching programme at the golf club. The innovative East Coast Junior Golf Tour was set up, which initially involved three local clubs as venues. A great example of a thriving local programme.
The Laddie Lucas Award, for the best local initiative, went to the Rural Derbyshire School Sport Partnership and v. In 2010, one of the small village schools in the area made it to the national Tri-Golf final, and there was a strong desire to build on this momentum. Teacher training was offered to all the primary schools and 22 teachers attended. Ten schools then received a Tri-Golf bag and subsequent coaching led to over 300 children playing Tri-Golf during curriculum time and in after-school clubs.
A Tri-Golf competition was held at the golf club where 100 boys and girls from all 10 schools competed, and a school open ‘Golf Day’ was also highly successful. One of the schools even won the National Tri-Golf Final of 2011!
The Critchley Award for the best major project was awarded to the Plymouth HSBC Golf Roots City Project. This was a collaboration between Cornwall County Golf Partnership, Devon County Golf Partnership, golf club operator Crown Golf and the Golf Foundation. Six local golf clubs were involved and an imaginative training day was hosted at the St Mellion International Resort, which brought together PGA pros, volunteers, teachers, partnership development managers, competition managers and university students.
This project introduced over 1,500 children and young people to golf across a large area through school, youth club, inner city and club-based activity. The work was well planned, well managed and created to deliver sustainable activity, said the judges. Highlights included Tri-Golf festivals, inner city ‘Street Golf’ and a two-day profile event in the city’s Drake Circus Shopping Centre.
The Gallacher Award for volunteer of the year was presented to Gareth Hughes, from Rhondda Golf Club. Gareth dedicates much of his spare time to the club where he has been a member since the age of nine. He has developed the Rhondda Junior Golf Academy, offering coaching and competition to boys and girls of all ages and abilities. In 2006 he became the youngest ever director at the club and is also a member of the Glamorgan County Golf Union Executive. At 26, he is the youngest golf club captain in Britain.
Gareth is a PGA coach and was instrumental in securing £75,000 from the Ryder Cup legacy fund to develop the nine-hole academy course which is now a hive of activity.
The Sinclair Award for the PGA professional who has carried out junior development work of real excellence went to Philip Pearson, of Eaton Golf Club in Norwich. Philip has established a successful junior academy, growing from less than 10 children about three years ago to nearly 60. Philip helped to deliver the HSBC Golf Roots City Project in Norwich, coaching in schools and reaching 300 children under the age of nine. A Tri-Golf festival at Eaton Golf Club was a big hit; with many young faces, bright colours and so much enthusiasm at the club, all made possible because of his passion.
The Burroughs Award is presented to those who support young golfers as they deal with adversity and this year’s winner was the Leicester Development Group. In 2011 this golf programme led by PGA professional Ian Bailey and his team of coaches grew to 14 primary schools (seven each side of the city) and two secondary schools, supported by a group of young ambassadors.
The Golf Foundation was impressed with the way the disability work was delivered as part of this initiative. This included coaching in four special schools which were invited and integrated into the two Tri-Golf city finals, rather than taking place in a stand-alone event. This was so successful with the schools that Tri-Golf was included into the Leicestershire Parallel games for the first time ever.
Mike Round said: “This group of people are absolutely and completely dedicated to grass roots junior golf. I’m amazed what they’re able to achieve. The group of people who inspire youngsters, who encourage, support, who try to break down barriers on behalf of youngsters, who raise funds, give up their own time or who dedicate their careers to helping and developing young people.
“It’s great to be able to congratulate the winners today for their achievements. They have all done tremendous work as part of our programme and I hope this inspires golfers everywhere to support HSBC Golf Roots for the good of the game and the next generation of young players.”