Birmingham’s Aaron Lansberry puts the fun into golf for hundreds of youngsters – and it’s won him the England Golf Coach of the Year Award, sponsored by The PGA.
Lansberry, from Hatchford Brook Golf Centre, was recognised last night at the England Golf Awards 2019, sponsored by Adidas Golf.
Lansberry (centre) received his award from Richard Maxfield, Chief Executive of The PGA (right). Pictured with Awards host Dan Walker.
Over 400 guests at the Royal Lancaster London applauded him for the way he inspires youngsters to enjoy their golf and keep coming back for more.
The judges were bowled over by his passion for the game which creates a genuine love of golf among his hundreds of young pupils. “His impact on growing the game goes above and beyond his role as a coach,” they said.
Lansberry, who was also a finalist last year, commented: “It’s lovely to win, it’s the cherry on the cake and it backs up all the hard work we do.”
He’s supported by a team of five teenage volunteers who help him deliver sessions and by his girlfriend, Kirsty Wise. In particular, she works with him on a new rewards system, which recognises both golf and life skills – and which was also a finalist for last night’s Innovation Award.
The youngsters are recognised with hand-made badges, which they wear proudly on their golf hats – and the couple are kept busy making them. “The kids are crazy for them, they’re bonkers for them!” said Lansberry.
The runners-up were: Philip Akers from The Belfry in Warwickshire; Stuart Disney from Mendip Golf Club, Somerset; and Mark Johnson from Styal Golf Club, Cheshire
The key to his success is fun and he’s always searching for new games to add enjoyment to his lessons. He trawls the internet and checks out other sports for ideas.
“The kids are there for their leisure and they want as much fun as possible and to improve their golf at the same time,” said Lansberry
It’s a winning formula. One group of seven youngsters have been attending sessions since 2011 – and that’s typical. “Our retention rate is about 97%,” said Lansberry, who admits that he also gets a lot from the sessions.
“It’s rewarding, it’s great. Some of those kids who’ve been coming for eight years now play for the county and at regional level. Others are just really passionate about playing, some aren’t particularly brilliant but they just love playing golf.
“As far as I’m concerned that’s job done! They’ve got a hobby, something they really enjoy, they’ve made some good friends and everyone is happy. I feel lucky.”