Cheers! Let’s toast Samantha Hudson, the new Fuller’s London Pride Golf Steward of the Year.
Samantha, from Swaffham Golf Club in Norfolk, is a steward who is literally prepared to go the extra mile for her club. She’s planning to run a marathon this year to raise funds for their charity.
She was named as the 2014 winner of England Golf’s top title for golf club stewards at a presentation lunch at The Counting House in London.
Samantha, the South East regional winner, claimed the national honour ahead of challengers from the country’s other three regions: Midlands winner, David Guest of Halesowen Golf Club, Worcestershire; North winner, David Prior of Blackley Golf Club, Lancashire; and South West winner, Kevin Brown of Sherborne Golf Club, Dorset
Samantha wins a two-night stay in a Fuller’s Hotel, as well as advertising space to promote her club in the local Press, and a certificate and trophy.
Her reaction to her victory was ecstatic: “Wow!” she said. “This means the world to me, I can’t think of anywhere better to work.
“I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me and especially to thank my team. I couldn’t do it without their backing and their support. This is for everyone who helps run the clubhouse and who also goes the extra mile.”
Swaffham’s 2014 captain, Gordon Halewood, was one of the first to congratulate her. “This is wonderful news for an amazing lady,” he said. “Sam is the life and soul of the social side of the club, she’s so bubbly and an excellent organiser.”
Samantha, who was also a regional winner in 2012, is in her fourth year at Swaffham. She’s a mum of two with a background in accountancy and originally took a job at the club for just a few hours a week – but when her predecessor left she was asked to take over.
She’s always ready for new challenges and in 2014 she led a project to completely refurbish the bar and dining area. After six months of planning, the contractors moved in, supported by Sam and a group of members who rolled up their sleeves to help with decorating and other tasks.
Sam heads the club’s social committee and is very keen for club activities to appeal to all sections and to involve younger members from the local airbase. Her regular social events included a Fourth of July party with US style bbq, rock ‘n’ roll classics and a red, white and blue firework display on 10th fairway.
She stepped up the charity events at the club last year, which raised over £7000, and was involved when the club held its first PGA East Region pro-am by organising a free halfway house with beers, water and juices for the players. She’s also got strong links with local community organisations.
Sam and the other regional winners all received their trophies from England Golf Chief Executive, David Joy, and from Richard Fuller, Fuller’s Corporate Affairs Director, who commented: “We are delighted to be involved with the England Golf Steward of the Year competition.
“Good hospitality is the cornerstone of any great golf club and it is fantastic to see the best being recognised in this way. There’s not much in life that’s better than an above par beer, a below par round of golf, and a great host to serve one and help you celebrate the other.”
David Joy told the finalists: “I congratulate you all for the great work you are doing. I know you are going above and beyond and it’s no surprise that the golf clubs represented today are all growing. When you have a very active and successful steward it’s equally likely that you have a committee or owner who is right behind them.
“Our relationship with Fuller’s is one of our longest partnerships and impacts not only those who work in clubs but the club golfer as well. We are working together to retain the best of our traditions and culture while modernising to meet the needs of today’s golfer and consumer.”
The competition was run for the eighth time in 2014, when hundreds of votes were cast for the nominated stewards. The judges were joined by the 2013 winners, Simon and Karen Ward of Wilmslow Golf Club in Cheshire, to whittle down the entries to three finalists in each region.
Each of these 12 were visited personally before the four regional winners were chosen, having been judged on their commitment, innovation and standard of service and presentation, together with that extra special something which sets them apart.
Captions: Top, Samantha Hudson with her trophy. Below, from left, Richard Fuller and Jane Jones of Fuller’s; Kevin Brown, Samantha Hudson, David Prior and David Guest; with David Joy of England Golf.