Sergio wins AGW Golf Writers Trophy

 

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Sergio celebrates: Photo thanks to European Tour/Getty Images

MASTERS champion Sergio Garcia is this year’s recipient of the Golf Writers Trophy, as awarded by the Association of Golf Writers. The 37-year old Spaniard won an overwhelming majority of votes cast by AGW members following a season in which he claimed his first major title.

Garcia’s Masters victory was one of three wins in what he has described as the best season of his life.  He won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February before claiming his first Green Jacket by triumphing in a thrilling sudden death playoff to beat Justin Rose at Augusta in April.  Garcia’s third victory came in October at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters which is hosted by the player’s charitable foundation.

It is the second time Garcia has received the award.  He won the vote after his breakthrough season in 1999 when he was a 19-year old runner up to Tiger Woods in that year’s PGA Championship at the Medinah Country Club near Chicago.
“It is a tremendous honour to be recognised as the AGW Golfer of the Year by the Association’s members,” said Garcia.  “It is something that is very difficult to achieve, so it’s always a pleasure.
“To be voted the award for a second time, it is extremely exciting and hopefully I will be able to win it again.

“We know that both the golfers and media go hand in hand in this business, and we always appreciate when they recognise you for something as big as this.
“So, thank you again to all the members of the Association of Golf Writers for voting me their Golfer of the Year.”
Garcia breaks a duopoly between Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson who have dominated the award for the last five years.  McIlroy received the accolade in 2012, 14 and 15, while his Swedish rival won the award last year and in 2013.
The Golf Writers Trophy is awarded each year to the person or persons, born or resident in Europe, who in the opinion of AGW members has made the most outstanding contribution to golf in the preceding twelve months.
“We are delighted to give this award to Sergio,” said AGW Chairman, Iain Carter.  “I suspect very few people would have expected this great talent to have been so frustrated for so long at major championships, especially when you consider how he burst on to the scene.
“Sergio has been a delight to cover for our members.  He has always been a fascinating character loved by fans all over the world and he has generated hundreds of stories in a most colourful career.
“I think the vast majority of us were thrilled that we were finally able to write the story of his first major title.  Typically it was won in great and courageous style.
“We were also very grateful that Sergio chose to join us at our annual dinner at Royal Birkdale this year.  He turned up proudly wearing the green jacket and his presence in such coveted attire helped make it a hugely successful evening.
“It is only right that our membership have chosen to bestow him with our most prestigious award and we send our warmest congratulations to Sergio and his team.”

Inquiries to AGW Chairman Iain Carter; Phone: (Mobile) + 44 (0)7740 818 32

 

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England Golf sign up new sponsors

ENGLAND Golf has announced that Bridgestone, its partner for the club golfers’ Chase Your Dream Trophy, has become the first event sponsor of the England Golf Awards 2018. Another six sponsors are welcomed for their support of individual categories.

Bridgestone’s event sponsorship includes supporting the prestigious Lifetime Service Award which will recognise someone who has made a remarkable contribution to golf over many years. The 2017 winner, Jenny Hobbs of Bath Golf Club, received a standing ovation at the Awards dinner.

The latest category sponsors are:

The PGA, new sponsors of the Coach of the Year Award

Players 1st, new sponsors of the Volunteer of the Year

American Golf will once again sponsor the Most Welcoming Club category

SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC. return to sponsor the County of the Year Award

The Golf Foundation is again associated with the Young Ambassador of the Year

Derek Burridge Trophies, sponsors of the winners’ trophies

HowDidiDo has previously been announced at the sponsor of the Club of the Year Award.

England Golf chief executive Nick Pink commented: “We are thrilled to be joined by these sponsors whose support is hugely valued and adds enormously to the prestige of the England Golf Awards.

“We have had a tremendous response to our request for nominations for the Awards and we are looking forward to a great night when we hear the inspirational stories of our finalists and applaud our winners.”

The England Golf Awards 2018 will be made at the Royal Lancaster London on February 22 and will celebrate the people, clubs and counties who make the game great.

The black-tie gala dinner will be a must-attend date for everyone who cares about golf and offers a chance to hear about the outstanding achievements of the finalists and to applaud the winners.

Tickets cost £85 per person and include drinks on arrival and a three course meal with half a bottle of wine. Visit http://www.englandgolfawards.org for more information.

Here’s what the sponsors have to say:

Bridgestone is the world’s largest tyre and rubber manufacturer and an official International Olympic Committee Partner, promoting the concept Chase Your Dream, No Matter What. Andy Mathias, marketing communications manager, North Europe Region, said: “Bridgestone is proud to sponsor the Lifetime Service Award which acknowledges outstanding, selfless work over many years. Bridgestone has already aligned itself with similarly impressive performers through its Chase Your Dream Trophy, run in partnership with England Golf. This competition couldn’t have been better named as so many dreams were realised during its various stages.”

The PGA has more than 7,000 members who enhance the golfing experience of countless players. Chief executive Robert Maxfield said: “The PGA is delighted to sponsor England Golf’s Coach of the Year award, especially as many of our members play key roles in teaching the game to golfers of all abilities. These include beginners, enthusiastic club members looking to improve, as well as Ryder Cup stars, many of whom are coached by PGA professionals.”

Players 1st is one of the world’s leading player experience platforms, helping golf clubs grow their business through data. Chief executive officer Morten Bisgaard said: “Players 1st is proud to sponsor the Volunteer of the Year Award at the England Golf Awards. Volunteers are highly committed people who show a deep love of the game and they put a lot of hard work into ensuring consistent, high-quality player experiences that keep both guests and members happy.”

American Golf is Europe’s largest golf retailer. Director of marketing and communications Daniel Gathercole said: “We are delighted to support England Golf again. By acknowledging the fantastic contribution made by these clubs and by individuals, we encourage more people to follow in their footsteps.  I am really looking forward to hearing the stories behind this year’s winners and will be proud to present our award.”

SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC. is a sports research business with a strong focus on golf.  Director Richard Payne said: “We are again delighted to sponsor the County of the Year Award and recognise the initiatives, hard work and dedication of those working to grow the game at a county level. We believe it is vital to tailor your service to your target market and it is fascinating to see how successful counties are adapting their strategy for growth based on market demands.”

The Golf Foundation is the charity responsible for helping more young people to enjoy the playing and personal benefits of golf. Chief executive officer Brendon Pyle said: “The Golf Foundation is delighted to be associated with the Young Ambassador Award as it works closely with England Golf to provide opportunities for young people to volunteer in golf.  Leadership and volunteering are key aspects of the Foundation’s drive to help youngsters develop Skills for Life through their involvement in golf.”

Derek Burridge Trophies is a leading trade price supplier of golf awards. Sales director Mark Burridge said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the golf community to recognise the outstanding winners and we are delighted to support the England Golf Awards. So much good work goes on within the industry and this evening brings everyone together.”

 

Club managers working with England Golf

GOLF club managers are working with England Golf to help shape the business support it offers.  The new Club Managers’ Advisory Group provides an ear-to-the-ground, offering feedback and opinions on the programmes and resources offered.

Abbie Lench, England Golf’s head of club support, commented: “Our aim is to create stronger clubs which are thriving, healthy businesses and to do that successfully we need to know the views and needs of club managers.

This group is a great sounding board and it helps us shape what we do and how we do it.”

The group is chaired by Alistair Booth, an England Golf board member and chairman of Frilford Heath Golf Club, Oxfordshire, and its 12 members represent the full range of clubs.

For example Jenny Holmes is a director of Fynn Valley Golf Club in Suffolk, a rural, family-run business which won England Golf’s Most Welcoming Club of the Year Award for 2017.

Emma Clifford is the general manager of Aldwickbury Park, a proprietary club in Hertfordshire, while Gary Pearce is the general manager/secretary of Fulford Golf Club, a private members’ club in York. Both Emma and Gary are past winners of the Golf Club Manager of the Year Award.

“I felt we had a responsibility, as part of the golf community, to join the group,” said Gary. “We network with other clubs and hear what their problems and needs are and I can feed that back, I’m not there just for Fulford Golf Club.” In particular, he’s aware of the number of clubs which seek support with business planning.

Both Emma and Jenny like getting a behind-the-scenes look at England Golf. “It is lovely to be able to advise golf club members and fellow golfers of what their subscriptions and Sport England funding supports,” said Emma.

“Members and the management team at the club will gain a huge benefit, a good understanding of where golf in England is now, what is coming next, and the goal. The great thing is we can all do something to help make it happen.”

She added: “It is also lovely to be able to give a little something back to golf after everything it has given to me.” Emma played for England before turning professional, competing on the Ladies European Tour, gaining her PGA qualification, then moving in to club management.

Jenny highlights the benefit of the varied views represented by the cross section of group members and commented: “We are a diverse industry and this group is giving a voice to the industry and, more to the point, the governing body is listening.”

She added: “It’s also valuable for England Golf because we have become ambassadors in our local community and can say what’s being done. That’s important, before I joined the group I wasn’t sure about the vast majority of what they did.”

The other group members are: Niki Hunter, Golf Club Managers’ Association;  Stephen Boustead, Manchester Golf Club; Scott Morley, Sandilands Golf Club, Lincolnshire; Richard Penley-Martin, Ganton Golf Club, Yorkshire; Michael Robinson, Bamburgh Castle Golf Club, Northumberland; Lindsay Salvini, Crosland Heath Golf Club, Yorkshire; Michael Thorpe, Scarcroft Golf Club, Yorkshire; and Richard Weeks, Hunley Golf Club, Yorkshire.

England Golf also consults with multi-course operators, listening to their commercial considerations and the issues involved in running businesses from more than one site.

It has a nationwide network of club support officers who work directly with golf clubs and centres, and a range of resources, from mapping tools to identify potential customers to advice on retention and recruitment. This, together with input from regional and national officers, provides extensive business support to clubs.

 

Cheshire club earns England Golf award

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PUTTING ON THE STYAL: Sean Hammilll (centre) presents the GolfMark Award to the club’s PGA professional, Mark Johnson (left), and golf director  Glynn Traynor 

CHESHIRE club Styal, which is backing the drive to grow the game, has received the GolfMark Award from England Golf .

The 18-hole course, which also boasts a 9-hole par 3 facility, driving range and coaching academy, was presented with official seal of approval for clubs which successfully work to develop the game in four ways:

  • By attracting new members and encouraging existing members to play more
  • Using practical business planning to develop the club
  • Offering coaching and playing opportunities for all golfers
  • Ensuring safeguarding policies are in place

During the year the club introduced several new schemes and policies to grow the game.  As a result, more than 70 new adult golfers attended Get into Golf beginner courses, designed to be social, fun, structured and rewarding. A high percentage continue to progress through the programme.

Membership options have been reshaped to offer what customers want and this has helped to attract more new members and to retain existing ones.

The junior golf academy has gone from strength to strength, with more than 115 youngsters attending weekly coaching classes and in excess 200 juniors taking part in summer camps.

Golf director Glynn Traynor said: “This award helps us to spread that message and to tell people that children are safe and secure here and that we understand about beginner golfers. We have a more optimistic view of the future and a clear plan of where we are heading for 2018/19 and look forward to the challenges and rewards.”

The award was presented to Styal by Sean Hammill, England Golf’s club support officer for Cheshire who said: “I’m delighted that Styal has achieved GolfMark and that its outstanding initiatives to grow the game can be nationally recognised.”

The GolfMark award was developed by England Golf and also integrates Sport England’s Clubmark award – a national standard for quality sports clubs recognised across the country.

GolfMark brings a number of benefits to clubs including raising awareness, access to funding, business and marketing support and training opportunities for staff and volunteers. To find out more visit http://www.golfmark.org

 

Lancs clubs help stroke survivors

LANCASHIRE clubs have been working with the Stroke Association to deliver Get into Golf sessions.

The game has been identified as an option for people recovering from a stroke and its health and social benefits are seen as positive factors in the rehabilitation process.

A number of people who had taken part in the sessions came together at Mytton Fold Golf Club

Club Support Officers for England Golf, covering Lancashire, have been working with local Stroke Association staff survivors to establish a pathway into the sport.

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Debbie Barber, from Lancashire GDG, said: “For anyone who has had a stroke the road to recovery can be a long one. Golf is just one way of helping them regain their physical fitness while regaining their confidence to get out and about and meet up with people.

“By taking part in sessions with people in a similar situation, it has encouraged an atmosphere of camaraderie and mutual support.

“From the small beginnings of the pilot scheme – which involved clubs in Blackburn, Rochdale, Lee Park in Liverpool and Fleetwood – we now hope to roll this programme out to a wider audience.”

Members at Mytton Fold were on hand to support the 16 players in a six-hole competition out on the course, while a further 20 stroke survivors took part in an indoor putting contest.

Pictured are John Collins and Ray Brown, from the Bowlee Park Golf Driving Range scheme, Rochdale, and the Rochdale Stroke Association, were winners on the day

Barber added: “We are grateful to Fairway Credit, the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs, England Golf and the Golf Foundation for donating prizes and to all the volunteers who have supported this programme.”

Joanne Mundey, Stroke Association support co-ordinator, said: “More people than ever before are surviving a stroke. But many stroke survivors tell us that they can feel isolated when they return home.

“The Get into Golf sessions provide an opportunity for stroke survivors to socialise with others who are also experiencing a life after stroke, benefit from exercise, build their confidence and enjoy learning new skills.

“We’re thrilled the course has been really popular with local stroke survivors and would encourage people to get in touch should they like to get involved in any future sessions.”

Future plans include the formation of a Stroke Survivors Golf Society for survivors and their support workers.

Further details are available by contacting your local club support officer or the Stroke Association.

Leigh duo just miss out on Morocco challenge

LONG serving Leigh professional Andrew Baguley and amateur partner John Taylor finished a commendable joint third in the SkyCaddie PGA Pro-Captain Challenge in Morocco.

Winners were Lincolnshire duo Paul Bradshaw and retired GP Chris Hall who found the perfect antidote to combat the challenge of Moor Hall whose score was matched by Leigh.

It came in the form of a birdie-laden and bogey-free negotiation of the Gary Player-designed course at Mazagan Beach and Golf Resort that resulted in a comfortable victory for the pair from Holme Hall, Lincolnshire, who tied with Leigh.

They had begun the second and final round of the stableford format event a point adrift of their PGA Midland region rivals and tournament leaders, Moor Hall’s Cameron Clark and his club captain Paul Brindley.

Come half way the deficit had been erased then, with the duo from Sutton Coldfield seemingly becalmed, they posted four birdies for a total score of 85 and victory by three points.

The last of those birdies, was recorded at the par five 18th by Mills, a 20-handicapper who looked anything but as his chip and run came to rest inches from the hole for a tap-in.

It was a fitting way to win the tournament that, supported by Golfplan Insurance, carries a £22,000 prize fund of which £5,000 goes to the winning pro.

 

PGA joins forces with Asian Golf Industry Federation

FOLLOWING the success of its first overseas PGA Members’ International Conference in Thailand, The PGA has signed up as an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF).

The PGA has become the latest international body to join forces with AGIF, whose aim is to develop and lead the growth of golf across Asia.

The new partnership will allow The PGA to highlight the roles and work of its Professionals in the region and identify potential employment opportunities for its Members.

No fewer than 1,500 PGA Professionals of Great Britain and Ireland are working in 81 overseas locations across the globe, including dozens of Asian countries.

Speaking about the partnership Rob Maxfield, chief executive of The PGA, said: “Asia continues to be an important market for The PGA and its members who have been working there to develop golf for many years.

“The recent gathering of Members at our conference at Laguna Phuket allowed them to gain good knowledge from some excellent speakers which will ultimately help them develop in their current roles. The conference also allowed us to engage face-to-face with our Members in the region and see how we can support them into the future.

“Given the ever-growing number of PGA Members who are working in Asia, it makes perfect sense for us to join with AGIF. We very much hope to be able to contribute further to the development of golf across Asia.”

AGIF looks to develop golf across Asia in a variety of ways. It provides educational events, seminars and workshops and conducts research that benefits the golf industry in the area.

The Federation provides a networking platform for its members, which includes key decision makers in the Asian golf industry, and AGIF also addresses many key issues relevant to the sport, such as environmental sustainability and the growth of the game.

Eric Lynge, the AGIF’s chief executive, added: “We offer a very warm welcome to the Federation to Robert Maxfield and The PGA, the world’s oldest Professional Golf Association.

“The PGA is a members’ organisation which educates and trains PGA Professionals to degree level with the very latest skills and expertise to operate in all areas of golf, so golfers can coach and play while golf clubs benefit from the successful management of their facility.

“The AGIF is already heavily invested in education with course superintendents and club managers in Asia. Working with The PGA, we can now look forward also to expanding our brief to include PGA professionals.”