Eaton professional Philip Pearson is honoured for golf excellence
Eaton professional Philip Pearson has received national recognition for his work with young golfers.
Pearson was presented with the Sinclair Award, for junior development work of real excellence, by none other than former Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie at a prestigious ceremony held at Wentworth.
The Golf Foundation President's Awards is a celebration of those who support grass roots junior golf: volunteers, PGA Professionals, junior organisers, schoolteachers and local authority officers.
'The time and the place and who we got it off made it even more special than it already was,' said Pearson.' 'This is by far my biggest achievement in golf and it absolutely will spur me on. It's nice to get that recognition in your job, to be acknowledged on that kind of a scale was tremendous.
The 26-year-old added: 'I've always wanted to be a junior coach and teach junior golf ever since turning professional. Whereas some of the time people who do junior golf lessons on a Saturday almost see it as an inconvenience to their diaries but I go out of my way to put lots of effort and energy into it because it's something I'm very passionate about.'
Pearson has established a junior academy at Eaton, which has grown from less than 10 children about three years ago to nearly 60. He's also helped to deliver the HSBC Golf Roots City Project in Norwich, coaching in schools and reaching 300 children under the age of nine.
'I've set up an academy system rather than one where people turn up and go,' said Pearson. 'The kids book for a term of lessons so they get into well organised groups of children of around the same age and ability. So they build up friendships and play games and compete and develop with each other. They know who is going to be there each week and it's a good grounding for them to get out on the golf course and eventually play the game.
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'The enjoyment element is key to it, while they've got their friends around and having fun and they are competing they are keen to come back.
'They feel part of a club, part of something. You get that in other sports in other team sports like football, rugby and also in some of your more individual sports like tennis and swimming where people still feel like they are part of team and part of a club. They feel like they are doing it for each other and are bringing each other on. That doesn't tend to happen too much in golf.'
Golf Foundation President Colin Montgomerie greeted each winner on stage and outlined how the Foundation's aim is to make the game more accessible to children from all backgrounds and circumstances through its 'HSBC Golf Roots' programme, and he commended the good work of the award recipients who have all helped to significantly advance the Foundation's cause in schools, the communities and golf clubs.
Karen Young, development officer for the Norfolk County Golf partnership, said: 'The Norfolk County Golf Partnership is delighted that Philip has been recognised by the Golf Foundation for his work with young people.
'His hard work and commitment to delivering golf within schools, at Eaton Golf Club and through NCGP's Coach and Player programme is fantastic. It has been a brilliant year for golf in Norfolk and this award along with Bawburgh's 'GolfMark Club of the Year' and Carol Delf's award for 'County Development' is great for golf in the County.
'We want even more people to give golf a go and the awards suggest Norfolk is heading in the right direction.'
• For more information about the NCGP and where you can 'get into golf' visit www.norfolkgolfpartnerhips.co.uk