Liz Taylor from Prestonfield Golf Club has been crowned the 2015 SSE Peoples Champion at the Scottish Women in Sport’s second annual dinner at Hampden Park.
The award honours those who work tirelessly in the background to support Scottish women in sport, whether a parent, teacher, coach or mentor. The other nominees were Georgi Black (Weightlifting), Marion Gillies (Shinty) and Jackie Turley (Ice Hockey).
Liz has spearheaded a transformation of Prestonfield Golf Club’s junior section since becoming ClubGolf Coordinator in 2013, building a team of equally enthusiastic volunteer coaches who have increased the number of child members from single figures to the current 178, of which 40 are girls.
Her belief is to make the sport fun, accessible by providing equipment, and affordable with junior club membership costing only £25 a year. Two par-3 holes have been specially built to allow them to practice.
Building on this success, Liz has introduced Get into Golf sessions for adult beginners, a Scottish Golf initiative based on the ClubGolf junior coaching programme, which is funded by the Scottish Government. Of the 70 women who took part in the first taster session, 10 joined the club. The club’s PGA Professional, Scott Clark, has already organised three weeks of Get into Golf coaching for 2016.
Liz believes their junior section has been instrumental in turning a traditional club into a community hub for family golf. She said:
“I am delighted to be recognised by Scottish Women in Sport. It is an award for all the coaches and volunteers who have helped more women, mums, and girls to get into sport.
“I would like to thank them, and also ClubGolf, especially Lesley Nicholson, for their support all the way behind the scenes. They are the backbone and that’s why we’ve been successful and we couldn’t have done it without them.
“We’ve fought to make changes. If you don’t make changes, you stay the same and we wouldn’t have a golf club by now. Children used to be forced to play golf, now they play for fun. We have three, six, and 9-hole handicaps as well as 18 holes, and we’ve changed the whole club from traditional to modern.
“It’s great that SSE sponsor this award and recognise those volunteers behind the scenes who are making a difference and want to change sport, and I would like to congratulate the other nominees, Georgi, Marion, and Jackie, as they have also done a lot of work to get women into their sports.”
Jackie Davidson, Club Development Manager for Scottish Golf, said: “We are delighted that Scottish Women in Sport and SSE have recognised Liz as a Champion of women and girls in golf.
“Liz and her team have transformed the way young golfers are welcomed at Prestonfield Golf Club, and have worked hard with Active Schools and the wider community to introduce children to the game.
"Her energy is boundless and by also encouraging more women, including some of the ClubGolf mums to take up the sport, she is a true champion of family golf and trail blazing the future direction of Scottish Golf.”
Liz was joined at the awards dinner by her husband Ronnie and eight of the volunteers and coaches who have played a part in the successful junior coaching programme.