Ben Jones, PGA Professional at Garon Park, has been honoured with the Golf Foundation’s prestigious Sinclair Award. Jones has introduced more than 1600 young people to the game in the last two years. And of those over 450 have returned to the club for further golfing experiences, with more than 100 going on to become fully-fledged members.
The award, which acknowledges PGA professionals who have made an outstanding contribution to grassroots golf, was presented during the foundation’s annual award ceremony. Jones, who has been a fully-qualified pro for the last six years, used to spend most of his time focusing on work in the pro shop. But he has quickly developed a packed teaching diary, thanks in no small part to the 40 primary schools he works with on a regular basis.
Jones also hosts the level two Tri Golf Festival as part of the Essex School Games, which ten schools take part in every year. And a further ten primary schools benefit from free integrated golf days at Garon Park which include group coaching, par-three playing opportunities and prizes.
He commented, “It was hard work at first, making that transition from shop pro to teaching pro. But I’ve really relished the chance to get stuck into it and I really enjoy it, it’s incredibly rewarding. Winning an award like this is completely overwhelming, it’s not something I ever really considered as something that could happen to me. All I wanted to do was get as many people down to the club as possible so they could get involved and just see how great it is to play golf.
“To see how that has spiralled and to see so many kids involved now is something I’m really proud of. I just went to schools and asked if they’d be interested in offering taster sessions. I was overwhelmed with the response but it means I can meet so many kids in one go, and potentially make many more golfers. I’m hoping I can get many more involved over the coming months and make a real difference to the way they see the sport.”