Three exceptional Golf Clubs were shortlisted for the prestigious 2016 GolfMark Club of the Year award. This award, now in its eighth year, recognises GolfMark clubs which have made an outstanding contribution to the game of golf through a range of activities.
The 3 shortlisted clubs were Penrith Golf Club, Erewash Valley Golf Club, and Hinckley Golf Club. The finalists were among 13 nominated clubs, and were selected by a judging panel from England Golf and the PGA.
Abbie Lench, England Golf’s Head of Club Support commented: “The quality of this year’s nominations was very high and the scoring was close run, but it consistently highlighted our final three contenders.”
GolfMark is an England Golf initiative which supports its strategic plan, ‘Raising Our Game’. The plan calls on all who care about the sport to work together to create a brighter future for the game, including more members, more players and stronger clubs.
GolfMark supports clubs to achieve high standards in four areas: recruitment and retention; management and sustainability; coaching and competitions; and safeguarding.
Following the short listing process the second stage of the selection process involved a site visit to the three clubs by England Golf officials.
The visit to Hinckley took place on the 1st Feb 2016 and included club officials highlighting the work around GOLFMARK and the innovative activities that the club has been involved in. It was followed by a comprehensive question and answer session.
Hinckley was awarded runner-up for 2016. Just losing out to Penrith in the final analysis.
Hinckley Golf Club are the first club in the county to achieve the new GolfMark status – and the first in five regional counties to gain the award.
The award was presented to Hinckley captain Paul Sherlaw by the County Golf Partnership's GolfMark co-ordinator Peggy Remington, who said: "This is a fantastic health check for clubs – a three-year accreditation.
"We are delighted that Hinckley is the first club to achieve this award in any of the five counties led by Sharon Heeley, our senior regional manager, who gave us great support.
"The old system was focused on juniors, coaching and competitions, as well as safeguarding.
"The new GolfMark is very different. It is a national accreditation scheme, designed to support all golf clubs, however big or small, to achieve a positive impact on four key areas of business.
"They are recruitment and retention of members, business management and sustainability, safeguarding, improved coaching and competitions, to enhance coaching and playing opportunities at clubs for all golfers."
Hinckley's team was led by Ray McColgan, who said: "A lot of people contributed to achieving this award. The whole process has helped develop our overall business strategy, which is now starting to bear fruit.
"Since implementing the action plan, the club has gained 55 new members, which is fantastic. We are grateful to Peggy Remington from the LRCGP for her advice and support. Her energy is infectious. We don't stop here and need to use the Golf/Club Mark structure and action plan to continue to take us forward."
More county clubs have also signed up for the new system and are at varying stages of the process, with others on the old GolfMark having successfully completed their annual reviews.