West Wales golfer Andrea Martin has received the Wales Golf Lifetime Achievement to Golf Development Award in recognition of remarkable success with Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.
Ashburnham’s Martin, the Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire Junior Organiser, has helped players coming through the system from those who go on to play for Wales to those just playing for social enjoyment.
The award is recognition for a volunteer who has given an incredible amount of time, hard work and dedication over more than a decade towards the growth and success of girls golf within the two counties.
She was due to collect the award at the Wales Golf Annual Awards Lunch at 2010 Clubhouse of Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor, but unfortunately the event has been postponed because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Martin arranges all competitions, liaises with club professionals for regular coaching, ensures as many players as possible can attend the events, encourages golfers of all ages to take part and caters for them with specific games and competitions for their ability.
She has set up a pathway for girls to progress from New2Golf into the county set-ups and hopefully Wales, used social media to keep everyone engaged, organised sponsorship and affordable clothing as well as prizes and trophies.
Having come from a teaching background, she has scrutinised the safeguarding policy and also ensured volunteers attend every course necessary to make sure the county is compliant with all health and safety requirements.
On top of everything else, she also gets out on the course with the players to offer support and encouragement so every child has the opportunity to fulfill their potential.
“It helps to make it worthwhile when you see some of the girls who have come through the system going on to represent Wales,” said Martin.
“But there is more to it than the elite end. The aim is to help all the girls develop, for them to enjoy it and to help clubs retain these players as members.
“Even if they do not get into squads it is great if they can enjoy golf and maybe give something back to the game. If they do then we have succeeded.
“Receiving this award is such a great honour and privilege. I have to thank several people, as well as our Junior County Sub-Committee members who have helped me, during my time in the county and are able to share this award.”
Martin started volunteering as the junior organiser in Ashburnham Golf Club, then offering to help out in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.
“I started helping out those girls playing nine hole social golf, but who needed coaching to progress,” she explained.
“Thanks to Darren Griffiths, who was then the pro at Carmarthen, and Wales Golf New2Golf courses for beginners we started some coaching for those girls and they started to improve.
“Then we started looking to help and involve girls in other clubs spread around the county and gradually grew from there.
“We had junior open days, a junior open championship and jamboree as part of the West Wales Ladies Championship.
“Once the girls started playing 18 holes then they started getting better and then they needed competitions for handicap qualifying within the county. Principality helped us to start a new structure and it just progressed from there.
“Now there are three levels of coaching. The elite squad all play in the county first or second teams and some have been part of the Wales Golf performance squads, such as Carys Worby, Megan Thomas, Kasumi Tran and Hollie Jenkins.
“We also have a development squad waiting in the wings and a future squad where enjoyment and fun are key.”
Wales Golf director of development Hannah McAllister added, “Congratulations to Andrea on this well-deserved award.
“Lifetime Achievement says it all because she has achieved so much at Ashburnham, then Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.
“She has played her part in some players coming through the system to play for Wales, but also for many others simply to get the most out of and enjoy their involvement in a sport for life.
“We look forward to making the formal presentation of this well-deserved award at an event later in the year.”