22 Mar 19
Aaron Lansberry puts the fun into golf for hundreds of youngsters – and it’s won him the coveted England Golf Coach of the Year Award.
PGA Professional Lansberry, from Hatchford Brook Golf Centre in Birmingham, was applauded by over 400 guests in London as he collected the award, sponsored by The PGA, for the way he inspires youngsters to enjoy golf and keep coming back for more.
The judges were bowled over by his passion for the game which creates a genuine love of golf among his hundreds of young pupils. “His impact on growing the game goes above and beyond his role as a coach,” they said.
Lansberry, who was also a finalist in 2018, commented: “It’s lovely to win, it’s the cherry on the cake and it backs up all the hard work we do.”
Lansberry He’s supported by a team of five teenage volunteers who help him deliver sessions and by his girlfriend, Kirsty Wise. In particular, she works with him on a new rewards system, which recognises both golf and life skills – and which was also a finalist for last night’s Innovation Award.
The youngsters are recognised with hand-made badges, which they wear proudly on their golf hats. The key to Lansberry’s success is fun and he’s always searching for new games to add enjoyment to his lessons. He trawls the internet and checks out other sports for ideas.
It’s a winning formula. One group of seven youngsters have been attending sessions since 2011 – and that’s typical. “Our retention rate is about 97 per cent,” said Lansberry, who admits that he also gets a lot from the sessions.
“It’s rewarding, it’s great. Some of those kids who’ve been coming for eight years now play for the county and at regional level. Others are just really passionate about playing, some aren’t particularly brilliant, but they just love playing golf.
“As far as I’m concerned that’s job done! They’ve got a hobby, something they really enjoy, they’ve made some good friends and everyone is happy. I feel lucky.”
Philip Akers (The Belfry), Stuart Disney (Mendip Golf Club) and Mark Johnson (Styal Golf Club) were the runners-up.
Akers has helped introduce over 2,400 newcomers to golf by developing the junior, women’s improvers and advanced sections of the academy at The Belfy.
Disney has been at Mendip for just under to years and as well as introducing a new swing studio, he has helped grow the club’s academy from a handful of juniors to over 50 members.
Despite having two kidney transplants, Johnson has raised the bar on running the junior section at Styal for more than 18 years. He inspires golfers of all ages, especially juniors, and is also a great fundraiser.
A full list of winners from the 2019 England Golf Awards:
Conor Gough of Stoke Park Golf Club, Buckinghamshire - Performance of the Year.
Ian Bonser of 3 Hammers, Staffordshire - Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by The Telegraph.
Wiltshire Golf - County of the Year
Stanton-on-the-Wolds Golf Club, Nottinghamshire - Championship Venue of the Year.
Mytime Active and its centres at Bromley and Orpington - new Innovation Award, sponsored by Players 1st.
The Exeter Golf and Country Club in Devon - Most Welcoming Club of the Year Award, sponsored by HowDidiDo.
Mark Feeney from West Derby Golf Club in Liverpool - Volunteer of the Year Award.
Lou McLoughlin of Bromborough Golf Club, Cheshire - Young Ambassador of the Year, presented in association with the Golf Foundation.
Aaron Lansberry, of Hatchford Brook Golf Centre in Birmingham, Coach of the Year Award.
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