Lee Sterritt was nominated for the Scottish Golf Volunteer of the Year award by Dumfriesshire Ladies County Golf Association, not only for his work with them, but also for his dedication to ClubGolf at the Crichton Golf Club in Dumfries.
Dumfriesshire Ladies do not have a course or premises of their own, but thanks to Lee's forward thinking, he offered them full use of their facilities for free, and the PGA Level Two coach goes to all their training and coaching sessions.
He also suggested joint working with his juniors, both boys and girls, at the Crichton. He encourages PGA Professionals to give the juniors as much coaching as he can, so much so, the club’s junior membership has risen from five four years ago to over 60 in 2015.
Eileen Scott, Secretary of the Dumfriesshire Ladies, says Lee is a quiet retiring man who does not like to take any credit for anything preferring to put his colleagues in the limelight instead. She said:
“We cannot speak highly enough of Lee, nobody else in the South has contributed as much as he has, and we had no hesitation in making this nomination.
“All his colleagues respect and admire him and they will go to any lengths to help him. Lee's long-term commitment to the game of golf has been exceptional at club, county and area level. He has a major impact on everyone around him and is welcome to new ideas and embraces them. He has increased membership and will go the extra mile to achieve success for his club.”
Lee invites Dumfriesshire Ladies, who have more than 20 girls in their association, to all his junior events including the junior prize giving which all the parents attend as well: the clubhouse is packed and the kids love having their parents playing musical chairs and other games with them! Almost all of the girls, and 30 parents, have joined the Crichton because it is a fun place to play. Lee is always looking for new ideas to keep the juniors interested and his sessions include rounders and other games, and he introduced footgolf in 2015.
One focus last year was on improving the practice facilities with a new chipping area and getting a cover over the mats to make proper bays. Over the winter, Lee also takes the juniors to the driving range every week. He has held ClubGolf camps for the last three years and has run two Active Schools festivals involving over 280 children.
Lee is the current Match Secretary, Club Golf Coordinator, Golf Administrator, Child Protection Officer and Area Signatory at the nine-hole Crichton. He encouraged three of the Dumfriesshire Ladies and eight Crichton members to become Level One coaches, and arranged a Safeguarding Children course at the club for them all.
Lee has also helped Rachel Walker, runner up in the 2015 Scottish Ladies Amateur Championship. Rachel joined Crichton at 10 years old, and Lee did everything he could to encourage and help her even getting a collection for her when she went to America to continue her studies. Although Rachel joined an 18-hole course, she has remained a member of Crichton and when she finishes at Old Dominion, Virginia she intends to come back to do her Level One coaching and put back something in to the Crichton.
Lee puts in all the hours he can to get juniors into golf and to the stage of getting a handicap and playing in junior competitions, which was another target last year: Crichton’s Junior Captain won three open junior competitions in 2015.
Lee has spent the last 30 years helping juniors play sport both in golf and football, and continues to grow the links within the community, making people aware that the facility is there to be used, providing a solid base for all kids to progress at their own pace and to socialize with each other in a healthy environment.
Speaking about his nomination, Lee said:
“I do what I do for the good of the club and the sport so I really appreciate that someone has taken the time to notice what I do.
“The club nearly closed four years ago, and so the members took it over. We only had five junior members then, and now we have 62. We make sure we offer affordable junior membership so that whether you’re six or 18, it costs £40 which includes 12 hours of group coaching. We have also produced our fair share of successful young golfers over the years, including Rachel Walker who started here when she was eight.
“During the summer, I probably coach between six and eight hours a week, and also take girls from Dumfriesshire Ladies and boys from the club to the driving range for coaching during the winter, as well as carrying out my role as administrator and ClubGolf coordinator.
“I just do it all for the love of the club.”
> Volunteer of the Year
> Crichton Golf Club