For the second year running I was invited to be a judge at the Pro Shop Europe Awards alongside prestigious names in the industry including the PGA’s Eddie Bullock and Golf Monthly editor Mike Harris.
Held in the glorious ballroom of Wentworth’s famous clubhouse, the 2012 ceremony brought together some of the biggest names in golf – and me – to celebrate the fine work carried out by those involved in the sport throughout the year.
Guest speaker, Rugby World Cup winner Ben Kay, above, kept the crowd entertained throughout the event (his opening line was: “For those here who don’t know anything about rugby… and there are some Scottish among us…”) and headed up the prize-giving.
And the winners are…
Gary Davidson (Highland Touch Golf) beat Freddy Valenti (Poulton Park) and Chris Hebdon (Hoebridge) to PGA Professional of the Year.
TaylorMade was rewarded for its remarkable 12 months with the Manufacturer of the Year award, edging out Cleveland Golf and Sigma.
Under Armour, seen here being worn by WGC-Matchplay champion and five-time PGA Tour winner Hunter Mahan, beat PING Collection and Golfino to Apparel Brand of the Year.
The Royal Mid Surrey team are celebrating after winning Pro Shop of the Year, beating Dartmouth Golf & Country Club and Isle of Wedmore. Dean Rogers (far right) also picked up the PGA Assistant Professional award ahead of Carole Pope (Isle of Wedmore) and Ryan Burton (Ladbrook Park).
Michael Gallagher (Killymoon) won Junior Coach of the Year. Runners-up were Dean Rogers (Royal Mid Surrey) and Nick Pope (Isle of Wedmore).
Vince Gilroy of Gay Hill Golf Club, pictured, won Greenkeeper of the Year. Second place went to Shaun White (Ferndown) and third place Mark Harper (Virginia Park).
Golf Marketing Services edged Professional Sports Group and Direct Golf to the PR and Marketing Team of the Year. GMS’s Adam Roberts collects the prize.
Pro Shop Europe editor Geraldine Faulkner closes the show...
...so I joined Golf Marketing Services’ Sam Elder (right) in the bar for a glass of celebratory champagne and discussed our favourite moments of Kay’s presentation.
“When I saw the ‘dwarf tosser’ headlines at the World Cup, I thought, ‘Oh God, what’s Austin Healey done now?’”
Special thanks the Pro Shop Europe team, particularly Geraldine and Geoff Pullin for all their hard work in making the night a true success.