16 Jan 19
Philp Akers, Stuart Disney, Mark Johnson and Aaron Lansberry are in the hunt to be crowned England Golf’s Coach of the Year.
All four PGA Members have been announced as finalists for the accolade, which will be presented along with eight other awards at a glittering black tie awards dinner on March 21, 2019.
Akers is definitely growing the game. Since he joined The Belfry he has introduced over 2400 newcomers to golf, developing the junior, women’s, improvers and advanced sections of the academy.
His successes include attracting more than 90 children to the junior coaching programme, with over 40 joining the club. His schools programme has introduced over 900 youngsters to golf and he recently hosted a Tri Golf schools competition involving 240 young players. Ten of his ambitious juniors are now county players.
It’s not just the juniors. Women-only coaching attracts 30 players a week and the gin and tonic evenings are a hit!
Akers wants to be a European Tour coach, is adding to his own qualifications and hopes to start coaching the coaches.
“I’m so honoured to be shortlisted for the award, it’s lovely to be recognised for all the hard work we do to promote the game,” said Akers (pictured above), who is a graduate of the Applied Golf Management Studies (AGMS) programme.
Stuart Disney, (pictured left), has made a big impact in a short time. He’s been at Mendip Golf Club in Somerset for just 18 months, bringing masses of enthusiasm to his role.
He’s even been known to lend his shoes to members when they forget their own!He’s opened a swing studio, he’s busy with Get into Golf and has introduced new golfers to the club – running new member days to help them settle in. He’s grown the junior section from a handful of youngsters to over 50 members and he coaches at four local schools.
Disney said: “I can't thank all those who put my name forward enough. I just love being a PGA Fellow Professional and to be recognised for the work I do is awesome.”
Mark Johnson, pictured below, is inspirational in many ways, not least for meeting the challenge of two kidney transplants. Professionally, he raises the bar on running a junior section and freely shares his knowledge with other clubs and coaches.
Johnson works with golfers of all ages but has inspired juniors at Styal Golf Club for 18 years and helped the club achieve GolfMark and SafeGolf.
He runs junior coaching, finds sponsorship, organises matches and competitions, including the David Horsey Styal Junior Open. Horsey, a former club junior and now a four-time European Tour winner, attends the event.
Johnson is also a great fundraiser, running an annual ‘Lads v Dads’ day for charities including Kidneys for Life and has raised almost £12,000 so far.
He commented: “It’s an honour to be nominated for the award and really nice to be recognised and appreciated for my efforts over the years. Whether I win or not, it’s a great achievement to be a finalist.”
Aaron Lansberry, (pictured below), teaches all ages, but he’s particularly known for coaching around 140 children every week at Hatchford Brook Golf Centre, near Birmingham.
He’s adored by the youngsters, according to his nomination. The reason? He’s constantly coming up with new ways to make sessions fun and to make the youngsters want to come back for more. At the same time, he teaches life skills as well as golf skills, with badges for teamwork, honesty and sportsmanship.
The result is children with growing confidence who are following a sport they love, making friends and keeping fit, healthy and happy. Plus, some of his older pupils support him as volunteers.
Lansberry comments: “A lot of people have helped me along the way, everyone at Hatchford Brook, all the parents of the kids I coach and my brilliant team of coaches and volunteers.”
Lansberry has also been nominated in the Innovation Award of the Year award category for his junior academy at Hatchford Brook.
Elsewhere, Robert Simpson, general manager at Kedleston Park, Derbyshire will be hoping his team are successful in the Championship Venue of the Year category.
Nick Pink, England Golf Chief Executive, added: “A very big thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate and to the judges, who had an incredibly difficult job to produce this shortlist of amazing volunteers, players, clubs and counties.
“They all contribute so much to the sport that we all love and we look forward to telling their stories over the coming weeks, as we build up to our gala dinner.
“Their contribution to golf in England is immeasurable and they really do make the game great.”
Tickets for the awards dinner, hosted by Dan Walker, are £90 each and include drinks on arrival and a three-course dinner with half a bottle of wine per person.
For more information about the event CLICK HERE.
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