DURHAM golf has paid a special tribute to the area's most promising golfers and unsung volunteers who do so much to help grow the sport in the region.

The Durham Golf Development Group’s third Development Awards – held at the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground, Chester-le-Street – presented 16 prizes on a memorable night.

The Group also revealed plans for its eighth year and described the progress made so far in bringing new players into golf and on into potential club membership, with attempts to keep such improvements going in 2016.

Phil Graham, development officer for Durham, said: “The evening was a great opportunity for club and county representatives to recognise the commitment of volunteers, clubs and coaches. It was also a chance to celebrate their outstanding contributions.

“It was also an opportunity for clubs to learn more about our activities to encourage more people into the sport, and to celebrate the success of all the past year’s projects.

“It also enabled us to demonstrate the support that is available for clubs to deliver new projects that will help build a sustainable membership for the future.”

More than 120 people including representatives of the Durham County Golf Union, Durham County Ladies Golf Association and England Golf attended the night.


Young Volunteer of the Year: Jordan Pout (Durham Golf Development Group). A winner for the second successive year, the 18-year-old combined his work at Durham New College with supporting a number of junior golf projects, including the flagship Race2Rocklifffe competition.

Volunteer Coach of the Year: Jason Rhodes (Bishop Auckland). The Level 1 coach and parent has supported his club’s PGA professional in delivering beginner coaching to juniors and supervising competitions.

Club Development Volunteer of the Year: Cathy Bowerbank (Dinsdale Spa). Project leader of her club’s recruitment project for new female members.

County Development Volunteer of the Year: Del Brady (Darlington). As captain of the Durham County Ladies Golf Association, Del worked tirelessly to support juniors and the county team while building stronger links with the men’s game, too.

Services to Golf: Anne Dunn (Whitburn). A Durham County Ladies Golf Association committee member for 12 years, has served as competition secretary while she has twice been Lady Captain at her home club.

Services to Golf: Les Inskip (Beamish Park). A long-serving supporter of his own club, the Durham County Golf Union, where he is a past secretary and a former president, the North Durham League, the Durham County Junior Golf Society, the County Captains Society and Durham CGDG.

Golf Mark Club of the Year: Houghton-le-Spring. Led by Ann Young and the business development team, the club were the first in Durham to gain accreditation, based on the new criteria for Golf Mark, since its relaunch.

Get into Golf Recruitment Project of the Year: Seaton Carew. A club that has broken down the barriers between people enjoying a golf taster session going on to becoming future club members by making them welcome from day one.

Get into Golf Centre 2015: George Washington. All-year round activities to encourage people to give golf a go, including working in tandem with Tyne & Wear Sport and Active Sunderland to offer coaching to local groups and companies. The club has also become a Disability Hub in the county during 2015.

HSBC Golf Roots Project of the Year: Woodham. Since April the club has welcomed more than 50 new participants to junior coaching, resulting in an increase of 39 members, including 14 girls, to demonstrate how a good player pathway can help young people start, learn and stay in golf.

Boys Development Player of the Year: Jaxon Fletcher. This eight year-old started lessons two years ago and has already gained a handicap of 26.

Girls Development Player of the Year: Maggie Whitehead. The nine year-old already dreams of winning the Women’s British Open, but is making her mark on the Junior Golf Tour and in a competition which will see her play in a final in America next year.

Boys Performance Player of the Year: Ben Cordwell-Smith. An energetic player whose infectious attitude boosts the mood of the entire group at coaching.

Girls Performance Player of the Year: Tilly Barton. A player with many of the key attributes needed to succeed – dedication, patience, athleticism and a willingness to learn. Tilly won her County Junior colours in 2015.

Boys Elite Player of the Year: Chris Handy. Has been part of the Durham County Coaching since the age of 11 and has represented his County and England on several occasions. In 2015 he won the England Golf Boys County Champion of Champions by three shots.

Girls Elite Player of the Year: Briony Bayles. Possesses a natural smiling personality that brings out the best in her squad and teammates. She has been part of the England Golf regional coaching squad and the undefeated County girls team.