The year 2018 is set to be one of the most memorable in the life of Drax Golf Club’s Liam Ridgill. At the tender age of 23 he will become the youngest captain in the club’s history as well as one of the youngest in the country.
And his voluntary work at his beloved Drax has led to him being named as one of the finalists for the Young Ambassador of the Year at the England Golf Awards. Since being introduced to the game at Drax by his grandfather and founding member Steve Brittain, his rise through the ranks has been nothing short of stellar.
He was appointed junior captain in 2010 and was then elected to the board of directors back in 2015 when he assumed responsibility for marketing. Clearly a man who likes his ‘firsts’, the 13 handicapper also holds the record the youngest player at Drax to have recorded a hole in one, having aced the 8th aged 16. His marketing expertise has helped attract more visitors and, more importantly, more younger members.
He said: “Like most other golf clubs we are looking to add members and increase revenue from green fees, so my focus has been on increasing visitor traffic and attracting new players. “With that in mind I have re-designed the website, engaged in social media and introduced an age structured membership programme which offers incentives to younger people.
“To be honest the nomination came as a bit of a surprise. The work I do is for the love of the club and to continue the legacy my grandfather helped to start. “This club has really become a family love affair, but I feel proud and honoured to have been nominated.”
n his year of office, Liam’s chosen charity is Kidney Research UK. He was diagnosed with a kidney condition aged eight and was “in and out” of St James’s Hospital Leeds receiving treatment. “My condition is now dormant, but I really wanted to give something back in return for the care and treatment I received, and I have set myself a target of raising £3,000 in 2018,” he added.
He is one of four finalists selected by the judging panel from a record-breaking entry which shines the spotlight on fantastic achievements in golf in England by volunteers, coaches, clubs and counties. He was nominated by club President Bill Scott and member Paul Blackham.
Bill Scott said: “I have had the privilege of knowing Liam for over 11 years firstly as a member of Drax Golf Club and then as a friend. I partnered him our adult-junior competition and we were fortunate to be victorious in 2008.
“Liam plays his golf with great enthusiasm and he clearly enjoys the ups and downs of the game and this reflects his overall attitude to the game, the club and golf in general.
"As a member of the committee he has done much hard work for the clubwith his skilled marketing ideas and his hard work the club has moved forward.
“His positive attitude and enthusiasm has bought in many new much needed members, because Drax Golf Club has the same predicament as many other clubs in the area – that of dwindling membership.
“In 2017 Liam was made vice-captain of Drax Golf Club again a role he accepted with a smile and a determination to continue to make a positive difference to the club.
“He looks after the club’s social media website and offline marketing and his forward thinking and his inventiveness has brought many benefits to the club. His enthusiasm is contagious and greatly appreciated by all the members.
“We look forward to Liam being club captain in 2018. He will be our youngest captain in the club’s history and this reflects the confidence we have in this young man.
“We are all confident that he will continue to work hard for the benefit of the club and the members.”
England Golf Chief Executive Nick Pink said: “We were thrilled by the number and quality of nominations we received and delighted that so many people are helping us to tell golf’s great stories to the wider community.
“Our finalists are all outstanding and we are looking forward to highlighting their successes at our gala dinner and to applauding our winners.”
The winners will be announced on 22 February at the England Golf Awards dinner at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London.