Golf volunteer Ali Jodiyawalla is in a league of his own after clocking up more than 300 hours of his free time helping out at his golf club.
The achievement of the 15 year-old from Solihull, who volunteers at Hatchford Brook Golf Club in Warwickshire, has just been recognised with a certificate and badge from England Golf.
As well as supporting the work of PGA professional Aaron Lansberry in running coaching sessions, the Tudor Grange Academy school pupil organised a junior league for players and has just staged their first prize presentation evening.
Ali became interested in golf four years ago through dad Mort, who in turn had got involved through his works golf society at John Lewis.
He had lessons from Aaron at the Birmingham club – and recommends would-be golfers to get expert advice from the professionals to help get to grips with the basics of the game.
Ali says: “As I started to understand more about the sport, I really enjoyed it and wanted to help out where I could. I help with the warm up before Aaron’s lessons or just collect the balls.
“I also try and welcome any newcomers to the club, helping them to get to know the others and running little fun competitions alongside the coaching.
“I know people enjoy playing competitively so asked the parents whether they would be interested in a junior league for their children. We ended up running three sections – under-12 girls, under-12 boys and over-12s mixed.
“We held a series of Stableford competitions, with the older group playing nine holes and the younger players seven, all counting towards an Order of Merit. I collected subs each week and used them towards some trophies and a presentation night.
“The league proved really popular and is great experience for those taking part to put into practice what they learn in Aaron’s lessons out on the course.”
Ali believes some people may be put off golf by pre-conceived misconceptions, but says: “Golf is not an old man’s sport. It can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities. Once you get out there hitting the ball and playing against the course and other players it is really fun.”
Julia Burton, development officer for the Warwickshire County Golf Partnership, says: “Ali should be congratulated for the time and effort he has put back into the sport.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of many clubs and organisations and the hours of unpaid work they undertake are vital to the well-being of the sport.
“They carry out that work without looking for recognition for their efforts, but it is nice once in a while to pay tribute and say thanks for everything they contribute to the golfing world.”
Aaron Lansberry says: “Ali is a huge help me to me and without his assistance my junior classes would no doubt be less fun and engaging. He is great at introducing new children to the sport.”
Hatchford Brook provides lessons for all ages and abilities at its home in, in Coventry Road, Sheldon, which also includes a new 24-bay driving range.
Caption: Ali Jodiyawalla (right) is pictured with Hatchford Brook Golf Club PGA professional Aaron Lansberry