Lifetime award for top Cheshire coach Thompson

CHESHIRE’S Alan Thompson was named winner of the Lifetime Service Award by England Golf during its coaching conference.

And he received a standing ovation along with Yorkshire’s Steve Robinson, the coach of the year, and Sussex’s Alan Covey, volunteer manager of the Year.

Thompson (pictured) was Cheshire coach for 25 years and was professionAlan Thompson 87889132.jpgal at Heswall until 2012 when he retired to concentrate on his teaching.

He was unable to be at the presentation but delegates were told how he has dedicated his career to helping golfers achieve their full potential at all levels, working with club players, county golfers, elite national amateurs and top professionals.

He’s been assistant coach to the England Men’s A Squad for many years and this season has been especially memorable with squad player Scott Gregory winning the Amateur Championship and the England Golf Men’s Order of Merit.

He’s also taught many European Tour players, including Lee Slattery and Ryder Cup player Jamie Donaldson.

Steve Burnett, the England Golf men’s performance manager, paid tribute to Thommo’s achievements and said: “We want to say thank you for all your years of dedication, there are a lot of players out there who are very grateful.”

Nigel Edwards, England Golf performance director, commented: “These are truly exceptional people who stand out for the support and encouragement they provide to our golfers, helping them to be the best they can.”

The conference, attended by county, regional and national coaches and managers, had the theme of creating a winning culture – and the achievements of the three award winners helped to highlight this.

Robinson enjoyed a spectacular 2016, inspiring the England women’s team to become European champions for the first time in 23 years.

Victory was particularly sweet because his teams have been involved in bronze medal play-offs in the previous three years, but had left the championships empty handed on each occasion.

His players included Bramhall’s Bronte Law, who has just turned professional after a stellar amateur career when she was ranked second in the world, played in three Curtis Cup teams, won the Annika Award as the top US college player and was European amateur champion.

She sent a message to the conference saying: “The gold medal represents all Robbo’s work as a coach and mentor. He is not just a coach to me, he is a friend and I could not think of anyone who deserves this award more.”

Robinson, who is based at Sandburn Hall, also coaches the Yorkshire boys’ and women’s teams – and between them they’ve won 11 English county championships. This year, three boys from the six-strong county squad have represented England and Robinson is also the personal coach to Charlie Thornton who won the England Golf Boys’ Order of Merit.

He summed up how he creates a winning culture by saying: “It’s all about building relationships with the players and making sure you know their vision and their mission.”

Ben Stow and Ashley Chesters, who were top England amateurs before embarking on their professional careers, attended a Q&A session with delegates.

Stow was the Brabazon Trophy champion and is now a Challenge Tour player, while Chesters was the double European amateur champion and has just won his European Tour card.

Both have been supported by England Golf’s Give Back scheme which provided them with a number of Challenge Tour starts; in return they give back a proportion of earnings over a certain level to support the squad programme.

 

 

 

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