Derbyshire golfer Paul Smith, who has devoted thousands of hours to encouraging juniors at his club, has been named as England Golf’s Volunteer of the Year.
Paul, the junior organiser at Marriott Breadsall Priory Golf Club, was presented with his award at a gala dinner last night at England Golf’s annual conference, which celebrated golfers and clubs which make the game great and inspire others to play.
He said afterwards: “I feel immensely honoured to have been presented with this prestigious award. I hope our juniors know how very proud I am of the way they conduct themselves at the club, both on and off the course.
“I would like to thank all our members for the magnificent support they have given to me and the junior section over the past year and this is also for them to enjoy and celebrate. Thank you also to England Golf for selecting me to receive this award.”
Paul has been junior organiser for five years and was nominated for the award by club secretary, Steve Barradell, for “his tireless resolve to make the junior section one of the best in Derbyshire.”
Steve added: “He wants the juniors to play with smiles on faces, win or lose, and this philosophy has benefitted many juniors over the past five years.”
During that time, Paul has introduced junior handicaps and nine-hole weekend competition to encourage new, young players. Overall he has increased the number of players in junior competitions. He has also created links with local schools.
He has organised Q&A sessions with Ladies European Tour player Melissa Reid – who comes from Derbyshire – and former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher.
He has completed fund-raising bike rides and sourced golfing memorabilia for golfing auctions to support the junior and other sections at Breadsall Priory.
Paul’s drive and enthusiasm has supported players to win a host of county events and to twice reach the final of the England Junior Champion Club tournament. This year he will also become the Derbyshire County Junior Delegate.
Joe Capewell, the club’s 2015 junior captain, commented: “What makes Paul special is that he encourages juniors while on the golf course to always try their best. During my times as junior captain Paul has been a great mentor and without him I wouldn’t have had the confidence to become junior captain.”
Paul Smith (left) receives his award from Dean Murphy, New Zealand Golf Chief Executive (Image © Leaderboard Photography)