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New appointment to help golf clubs in Shropshire and Herefordshire
January 12, 2012

An award-winning golfer is joining the drive to help more people take up the sport in Shropshire and Herefordshire.

Oswestry Golf Club member Judith Thornell has been appointed to the new role of GolfMark co-ordinator with the Shropshire and Herefordshire County Golf Partnership.

Judith - winner of the English Golf Union's volunteer of the year award in 2010 - will be working with clubs in the two counties on GolfMark, a national seal of approval for junior and beginner friendly facilities which play such an important part in the development of the game.

Shropshire and Herefordshire already have 13 clubs with the award - including three High Achievers in Market Drayton, Kington and Oswestry - with a similar number working towards their accreditation.

Now it is hoped Judith's appointment will help encourage more clubs to sign up for GolfMark, which offers parents, children and beginners the reassurance of knowing that the golf club will be welcoming, offer a good coaching and competitive structure as well as safeguarding junior participants.

The appointment has been made possible by additional funding provided to the county golf partnership in recognition of its success in attracting new players to golf by the England Golf Partnership.

More than 370 people took advantage of free taster sessions and Get into Golf schemes, backed by clubs and PGA professionals, which were held throughout Shropshire and Herefordshire during the summer.

County golf partnership development officer Mark Taylor will now be concentrating on delivering more recruitment schemes to help clubs attract potential new members and safeguard their long-term future.

Clubs in Shropshire and Herefordshire are eligible for a £240 grant to assist in running an Open Day and follow-up lessons for those who attend. Clubs are encouraged to offer further incentives to help recruit into club membership.

Says Mark Taylor: "To date 26 clubs are participating in this scheme with positive feedback stressing that such an initiative is exactly what the clubs are looking for to help increase participation, awareness and memberships."

Judith's volunteer award acknowledged the countless hours she has spent coaching junior golfers over a 15 year period, whether that be in local schools or clubs, within the county union and association programmes or at disability golf sessions.

She believes clubs should take advantage of the benefits that a GolfMark award brings, commenting: "It is a sign of a club that can be trusted and it opens doors to working in other areas such as schools or with the local authority to the benefit of both those wanting to try golf and the clubs themselves."

Mark Taylor, county development officer, says: "I am delighted to have such a long-time supporter of golf in Judith working alongside me and believe that this appointment can only benefit clubs in our counties as we continue to build a successful pathway into the sport and on towards potential club membership."

GolfMark is a national scheme that incorporates ClubMark and recognises junior and beginner friendly golf facilities that focus on Coaching and Playing, Club Environment and Child Protection, and Duty of Care, all of which are extremely important to parents and children alike.

GolfMark is an initiative jointly provided by the EGU and EWGA via the England Golf Partnership's 'Whole Sport Plan' for golf and is an integral part of the England Golf Partnership's vision to 'Grow the Game'.

The England Golf Partnership is a collaboration of the major stakeholders in golf, including The English Golf Union, The English Women's Golf Association, the PGA, the Golf Foundation and Sport England.

In Shropshire and Herefordshire the partnership is supported by the Shropshire and Herefordshire Union of Golf Clubs, Shropshire County Ladies' Golf Association and the Shropshire and Herefordshire Professional Golfers Association.

For more information on the work of the Shropshire and Herefordshire Golf Partnership contact Mark Taylor, County Development Officer, Shropshire and Herefordshire County Golf Partnership.


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