Raise a glass to Norfolk’s Steve Warren, the new Fuller’s London Pride Golf Steward of the Year.
Steve, from Eaton Golf Club in Norwich, goes the extra mile to create the “Eaton Experience” for members, visitors – and the club’s residential neighbours.
“I’m overwhelmed!” he said. “This is the pinnacle of all my years in the golfing community and to be recognised by members and visitors is just wonderful.”
He was named as the 2015 winner of England Golf’s top title for golf club stewards at a presentation lunch at The Counting House in London. The competition aims to identify the golf club steward who provides the most welcoming and enjoyable experience at the 19th hole.
Steve, the South East regional winner, claimed the national honour ahead of challengers from the country’s other three regions: Midlands winners Phill and Louise Maxwell from Radcliffe-on-Trent Golf Club, Nottinghamshire; North winner Kirsty Glaister, from Stamford Golf Club, near Manchester; and South West winner, Fiona Snook, of Wareham Golf Club in Dorset.
He’s the second consecutive winner from Norfolk, following Samantha Hudson who was at Swaffham Golf Club when she took the 2014 title.
Steve works closely with his wife, Karen, the club’s head chef, and says: “Without her I wouldn’t be here. I can’t cook an egg!”
He went on: “Eaton is a great place to be, socially, golf-wise and with the leadership from the board, which is just so solid. They never say ‘no’, they’re always willing to push forward.”
Steve made an instant impact when he joined Eaton in April 2012, having previously worked as steward at another local club for 15 years and, before that as a publican. His new members were so impressed with him that he was nominated for the Steward of the Year award in 2013 and he became the South East winner.
Since then he’s built further on his achievements to create that Eaton Experience for members and guests. For example, he gave up his own time to train as a barista so he could show his team how to make the best quality coffee at the club. He developed his wine knowledge to be able to make recommendations and to create an impressive wine list.
He takes a lead on creating more business for the club and Eaton hosted six weddings in 2015. Steve drives all the social activity at the club, running an average of two events a month and the club also hosts around 110 society days each year.
And he knows when to say it with flowers. When the club had no alternative but to accept a delivery of turf on a low-loader at 6am, he visited the local florist, bought 12 bunches of flowers and delivered them to each of the neighbouring properties explaining the forthcoming delivery and giving apologies. Not one person complained and one of the homeowners even joined the club as a social member.
Eaton club chairman Graham Edwards commented: “The club has transformed over the last few years and Steve has been part of that, he’s a piece of the jigsaw and without him we couldn’t have done it. He and Karen work fantastically as a team and we are very lucky to have them.”
Steve and the other regional winners all received their trophies from England Golf Interim Chief Executive, Craig Wagstaff, and from Earl Baker, Fuller’s Sales Manager (Traditional Free Trade).
The competition was run for the ninth time in 2015, when hundreds of votes were cast for the nominated stewards. The judges were joined by the 2014 winner, Samantha Hudson, 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.
Steve wins a two-night stay in a Fuller’s Hotel, as well as advertising space to promote his club in the local Press, and a certificate and trophy.
Caption: Steward of the Year Steve Warren with his wife, Karen.