American Golf celebrated the ‘Best of British’ at its inaugural Golf Awards held at the Belfry last night with Tommy Fleetwood, Georgia Hall and equipment brand Ping the big winners.
With all awards voted for by the British golfing public, Fleetwood received the award for men’s Player of the Year after a sensational 2017 which saw him win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, French Open and, in doing so, rise to No.16 in the world.
Upon learning of his award, Fleetwood, who is playing in this week’s Omega European Masters, said: “Getting the award for Player of the Year from American Golf is great and it means so much that it’s been voted for by the public.
“I’ve been able to get back to form this year with the support of my friends, family and the fantastic team around me, and to now have the public recognise all the hard work is really special.”
As for women’s Player of the Year, that went to Georgia Hall (above), who followed up a T4 finish at the Ricoh Women’s British Open with a promising debut in the Solheim Cup, where she won two points.
“I was up against many of my great friends and team mates at the recent Solheim Cup so I’m absolutely honoured to be able to win this award – it means a lot to me and I appreciate it so much,” said the 21-year-old from Bournemouth.
One of the most well-received awards of the night was the American Golf Game Changer Award, which went to PGA Master Professional Alasdair Barr (below).
He was recognised for his continuing dedication to the development of the game of golf worldwide – which includes taking the game to some of the most disadvantaged countries – along with his work for the On Course Foundation.
Barr was quite taken aback by his award, with his recognition being kept a secret until the announcement was made.
“I’ve been a PGA Professional for 50 years and coached a world No.1 in Luke Donald but the past five working with the On Course Foundation has been the most satisfying,” he said. “Just yesterday, I was working with a guy who had PTSD and hadn’t left the house for 15 months. By the end of the day he was laughing and having fun.
“I’ve had people tell me that golf is the only reason they get up in the morning and that On Course Foundation has made them feel that they’re not alone. This award is more about the members of On Course than me.”
Another PGA member to gain recognition was Jon Earl (below), who won PGA Professional of the Year for his work at Ified Golf Club. Jon took the role of Head Professional at the age of 25 and is still there more than 20 years later, with members describing him as the heartbeat of the club.