Newport's Joe Vickery has been recognised with the Golf Union of Wales PGA Professional of the Year Award after delivering golf to more than 6,500 people last year.

The club professional at Parc between Cardiff and Newport, Vickery is a former Wales international and British amateur Championship semi-finalist with a passion to provide fun, inclusive opportunities for everyone.

More that 2,000 people with a disability were among those he took golf to last year, as one of only eight PGA Inclusive Level 2 coaches delivering weekly sessions to adults and children with varying disabilities.

Vickery led the British Minority Ethnic project with Newport Live which had nearly 500 participants, he trained nearly 20 coaches from the local community.

He assisted Parc in achieving the Golf Development Wales junior club accreditation scheme Junior GolfCert as well as Golf Foundation HSBC Golf Roots Centre and worked alongside junior golf leaders at Mountain Ash to increase junior participation from 1 to 64 and trained a further 28 people though Tri-Golf Activator courses.

“This is awesome, I love working with the team but it is a pleasure to get recognition,” said Vickery, who is qualified to deliver Street Golf, Tri-Golf and is also a Junior Leader Tutor.

“When I was in school I always wanted to play golf so I enjoy giving the kids an opportunity to do it, then went down the inclusive route as well and it is the most rewarding coaching I do. The retention rates in the class are better than any other and we have a great time every week.

“It is a lot of hard work but really enjoyable along the way, I just love giving people the chance to try golf and then when they hit the ball and you see the smile on their faces it makes your day.

“I try to do as much inclusive coaching as I can and in Newport we do quite a lot, Newport Live has big events with hundreds of children and adults, then just try to get them back to the club for regular coaching.

“The key is engaging with them, having fun and then they just want to come back every week.”

Lydia Hall claimed the Golf Union of Wales Tour Professional of the Year Award after making history as the first woman to beat the men in a British professional golf tournament.

Walker Cup hopeful David Boote won the Amateur of the Year Award, Pyle and Kenfig were the Club of the Year, in an award ceremony at Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor sponsored by Future Financials.

Mold were the Junior Club of the Year, Cardigan's Julia Den Hartog the Volunteer of the Year.

“The Welsh golf awards are about so much more than just the professionals who represent Wales around the world, there is so much good work going on at golf clubs all around Wales,” said Golf Union of Wales chief executive Richard Dixon.

“Joe is someone who came up through our elite ranks and represented Wales many times in a successful amateur career, but he has gone into his professional role with a real passion to bring golf to as many people of all abilities as possible.

“There is so much in Welsh golf to celebrate at the moment, a small nation punching above our weight, so it was great to have the opportunity to showcase that at former Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor.”

Posted on 8 March 2017 at 12:00

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