Lifetime Service Award presented to Somerset ‘legend’ Tommy

When it comes to dedication to the game of golf, few can compare with the winner of the 2022 England Golf Lifetime Service Award.

Somerset’s Tommy Tulk is the original unsung hero, described as ‘legendary’ by the colleagues who know him best and a full-time volunteer who has devoted most of his life to making the game more enjoyable for others.

Over the last four decades, there isn’t an aspect of golf in Somerset which hasn’t benefitted from Tommy’s enthusiastic input.

At Wells Golf Club, Tommy helped transform the venue from a 9-hole to an 18-hole development.

When he helped found Long Sutton Golf Club in 1990 there was no job too big or too small. Having helped acquire the land upon which the course was built, Tommy then rolled up his sleeves and did his fair share during the construction process.

To this day, he can be seen helping the greenkeepers whenever he has time to spare.

It’s amazing that he does find himself with a few free moments.

Tommy has been chairman of Long Sutton for 30 years, took on the role of president in 2019 and is the current club captain.

In his time, he’s also been president of the Somerset Golf Union and has been chairman of that same organisation since 2016.

“I’m honoured to take this on behalf of the county, the club that I’m a member of and all the people who have supported me in golf over the last 40 years.”

Tommy has played a huge role in encouraging juniors to develop their games over the last 40 years.

His involvement ranges from starting the Somerset Interclub Junior League, to ferrying players to competitions.

At other times, simply being at the side of a fairway to pass on a friendly word of encouragement has meant the world to one of the competitors.

Over the years, Tommy has also been a driving force when it comes to fundraising in the county with over £500,000 raised for charity. The most recent donation came last year when £37,000 was raised for the Air Ambulance Service.

Last month at an event at Long Sutton Golf Club, Tommy was reduced to tears when England Golf president Graham Yates, a friend for many years, surprised him by announcing to the assembled audience that Tommy was this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Service Award.

With friends and family by his side, Tommy spoke about what the award meant to him.

“I’m honoured to take this on behalf of the county, the club that I’m a member of and all the people who have supported me in golf over the last 40 years,” he said.

“I’ve had a bit of a shock – a pleasant surprise – and I’m a bit emotional. But you’re bound to be…I’ve got my family and friends here and it means so much to me.

“Without you people over the years at club and county level I wouldn’t have done all I’d done for golf. Thank you for the support you’ve shown me over the years.”