Foremost member professionals from around the UK gathered at Stadium MK, home of Milton Keynes Dons FC, for the annual Foremost Conference, with the two-day educational programme highlighted by the prestigious 2017 Foremost Golf Industry Awards.
Celebrating the success of the group’s member professionals and suppliers, the dinner was hosted by well-known Scottish BBC sports broadcaster and solid golfer Andrew Cotter.
Attending the awards I was taken aback by the scale of the event and fervour of the recipients. Just being nominated for an award was a huge deal for the Foremost professionals and manufacturers in attendance. Hard work, great product and amazing service were all justly rewarded.
Niall McGill, from Noah’s Ark Golf Centre in Perth, took home the most coveted award of the night, the Foremost Professional of the Year for 2017.
Commenting on McGill’s achievement, Foremost Managing Director Andy Martin said: “Niall has been a Foremost member for over 10 years, and has consistently supported our services and initiatives.
“He also regularly attends training events and fully utilises a broad range of our retail and marketing services, making Niall a superb ambassador for the Foremost group,” continued Martin.
Other recipients of Foremost’s coveted members’ awards were Gareth Jones from Sandiway Golf Club in Northwich who was named the group’s Elite Marketing Programme Professional of the Year, Bradley Rowntree from Richmond (Yorks) Golf Club in North Yorkshire who received the award for Breakthrough Professional of the Year, and Alex Blown from North Foreland Golf Club in Broadstairs who received the Assistant Professional of the Year award.
Culminating with the Supplier of the Year award, which went to PING for an incredible 10th consecutive year, the winners of the Foremost Supplier Awards were also announced. John Clarke, Managing Director of Ping Europe was on hand to collect the award.
PING added Iron Model of the Year (G400) to its haul for the evening, while Callaway also took home multiple awards with Wood Model of the Year (Epic) and Most Innovative Product of the Year (Epic driver for its Jailbreak Technology).
Acushnet enjoyed another successful night at the Foremost Golf Industry Awards, taking home Shoe Model of the Year (FootJoy Pro SL), Wedge Model of the Year (Titleist Vokey SM6) and Ball Model of the Year (Titleist Pro V1).
Completing the product award winners were Under Armour who won Apparel Range of the Year for a second year in a row, ProQuip who won Waterproof Model of the Year with their Pro-Flex Evo group exclusive line suit, Odyssey who again won Putter Model of the Year (O-Works range) and Motocaddy who won Trolley of the Year (S1).
Four Golf Monthly Tour Awards were also presented, with the first going to young Ladies European Tour player, Georgia Hall, who won Breakthrough Player of the Year ahead of stiff competition including John Rahm and Jordan Smith.
Justin Thomas edged out Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth to scoop the coveted Golfer of the Year award. Thomas, who has won five times this season including the PGA Championship, took the time to record a video message for the award attendees.
Sergio Garcia won Shot of the Year for his memorable shot into the par-5 15th at Augusta en route to claiming his first major championship.
The Outstanding Contribution to the Game Award for 2017 went to English golf icon Lee Westwood for his achievements which include 42 worldwide wins, 10 consecutive Ryder Cup appearances and several European Tour Order of Merit titles. Westwood also recorded a thank you video from the Ping Tour truck that was well received by those in attendance.