23 Feb 18
The ability of PGA Professionals Anders Mankert and Matthew Turnock to use golf to change lives and also grow the game have resulted in them being honoured by England Golf.
Anders Mankert, a PGA Advanced Fellow Professional, was presented with a Lifetime Service Award and Matthew Turnock was named Coach of the Year during England Golf’s annual awards presentation at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel.
Mankert, who is based at Cosby Golf Club, Leicestershire, was nominated for the accolade by a number of his students who described him as a ‘unique inspiration’ for introducing them to golf and changing their lives.
Many of those are blind or visually impaired and the judges said the 44-year-old's selfless dedication over two decades has helped make the game of golf more inclusive.
Speaking after receiving his award, Mankert, pictured above left with Stuart Attfield, the award's sponsor, said: “It’s quite humbling and it’s the most amazing thing that has happened in my career.
“It’s not why I do it, but it’s a lovely, lovely thing to be recognised for your efforts and to know that people actually care.”
Mankert’s story began in the mid-1990s when he began providing free lessons for blind and visually impaired players.
As well as teaching technical skills, Mankert also helps his students out in a number of other ways.
One of his trainees had been depressed about losing his sight overnight and being unable to get a guide to help him continue playing.
But Mankert resolved the issue via an appeal to a local newspaper and the player, Billy MacAllister, is now Britain's no1 blind golfer and has competed in World Championships.
“It strikes me that golf must be the hardest possible game for a blind person to take up,” Mankert continued.
“But I think they feel if they can play golf and see some progress they can pretty much have a go at anything and you can see their confidence growing.”
Mankert also runs a scholarship programme offering young golfers the opportunity to work like a tour pro for a year.
One of his former protégés, Ryan Evans, is now a European Tour player, and another is a PGA Professional, while all have improved their golf and grown personally and in confidence.
Mankert added: “When I was young lots of people helped me and so it’s quite important to give a bit back, it just feels the right thing to do.”
Meanwhile, Turnock, who is based at Mottram Hill Golf Club, Cheshire, was recognised for his passion for growing the game by introducing children and adults to the sport and working with disability groups.
The judges were particularly impressed with the scale of Turnock’s work, with the 46-year-old taking golf into around 50 schools in the Macclesfield area.
Youngsters who want to pursue their interest in the game are then invited to Mottram Hall to sign up for coaching lessons and under-18s are offered free membership.
Turnock, pictured right with PGA chief executive Robert Maxfield, has also introduced more than 500 adults to the sport through his Get into Golf courses, teaching the basics of the game.
“It was a very big surprise to be nominated for this award,” said Turnock. “It’s great to be recognised by your peers.
“It’s quite amazing, I think I’m just doing something normal but its seems to help so many people come out of their shell and to gain confidence
“I enjoy helping people and seeing them improve. When they do well and send me a message it makes it all worthwhile.”
Fellow PGA Professionals Phil Akers (The Belfry, Warwickshire), Aaron Lansberry (Hatchford Brook Golf Centre, Birmingham) and Anders Mankert (Cosby Golf Club, Leicestershire) all made the Coach of the Year shortlist.
For a full list of winners from the 2018 England Golf Awards click here.
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