DURHAM golf has paid a special tribute to the unsung volunteers who do so much to help grow the game in the region.
The Durham Golf Development Group’s fourth Development Awards evening – held at Durham County Cricket Club’s Riverside ground – presented prizes to helpers of all ages and backgrounds.
The meeting also heard about the Group’s plans for its ninth year and the progress made so far in bringing new players into golf and on into potential club membership.
Clubs learnt how England Golf is providing support to help them introduce the sport to people of all ages and abilities with information on development initiatives, resources and available funding.
Says Phil Graham, development officer for Durham: “The evening was a great opportunity for club and county representatives to recognise the commitment of volunteers, clubs and coaches. It was also a chance to celebrate their outstanding contributions.
“It was also an opportunity for clubs to learn more about our activities to encourage more people into the sport, and to celebrate the success of all the past year’s projects.
“It also enabled us to demonstrate the support that is available for clubs to deliver new projects that will help build a sustainable membership for the future.
“There was a great mix of PGA professionals, club managers, club volunteers and committee members, junior players and their families which made for a great atmosphere.”
More than 120 people, including representatives of the Durham County Golf Union, Durham County Ladies Golf Association, the Golf Foundation and England Golf, were present. Desmond Duffy (England Golf President Elect in 2017) was a special guest.
The prizes were presented by Phil Graham, Ron Baines-Bennett (chairman of the Durham Golf Development Group), Jason Budd (Regional Manager, England Golf) and Mike Greener (Talent Pathway Co-ordinator, Durham County) along with Desmond Duffy (England Golf President Elect in 2017).
The award winners were:
- Volunteer Coach of the Year: Paul Clough – Chester le Street Golf Club. Paul manages the junior section at the club, organises all competitions and inter-club matches, provides support to PGA Professional for both junior team coaching (midweek) and beginner sessions for local children (non-members) at the weekend
- Club Development Volunteer of the Year: Alyson Chapman – Boldon Golf Club: Alyson is a Get into golf beginner mentor and ambassador. She organised sessions with PGA Professional Simon Robinson, marketed initial taster sessions and managed communications with beginner ladies to aid transition to membership
- Lifetime Achievement Awards: Graham Hope (DCGU President) and Rita Foy (DCLGA President)
- GolfMark Club of the Year: Beamish Park Golf Club (Nick Skelton – Junior Organiser)
- Get into golf Project of the Year: Hobson Golf Club (Mark Watkins – PGA Professional)
- Get into golf Centre of the Year: OakLeaf Golf Complex (Julie Welch – PGA Professional)
- HSBC Golf Roots Centre of the Year: George Washington Golf Club (Ryan Ingram – PGA Professional)