Thoroughly deserved England Golf award for Graham

February 13th marked exactly 100 years since the formation of the English Golf Union. The EGU, now England Golf, was formed at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, which was chosen to host the superbly organised England Golf Centenary Dinner. An award which had no nominations declared was for the– Lifetime Service Award.
So it was a big and very pleasant surprise for CUGC stalwart Graham McCormack when Nick Dougherty announced that he had won the award.
Graham has been involved in junior golf in Cheshire for over 40 years.
Starting initially as Junior Organiser for his home club Birchwood, he went on to manage and run the Mid Cheshire Junior League which involved 24 clubs from across the county. The league went on to become what was one of the largest junior leagues in the north of England.
In 2011, he was elected to serve on the Cheshire Union of Golf Clubs Executive. At the time, Cheshire only ran an U18 team, and in 2012 he volunteered to create a Cheshire U14 group to encourage talented youngsters to realise their full potential.
Those selected and enrolled into the U14 team were provided with uniforms, coaching, and competitive matches, both within and outside of Cheshire. They were also encouraged to learn the rules of golf, correct etiquette, good personal management and comportment, together with playing the game in a safe and considerate way.
Under Graham’s guidance, many of the youngsters went on to represent teams within the county at a higher level. Some went on to play at international level with one, James Ashfield, recently selected to represent GB&I in the 2023 Walker Cup.
In addition to his duties with golf, he tended to his seriously ill wife up until her passing in 2021, and his dedication over many years has enabled youngsters from all over Cheshire to achieve their aims and goals in golf, and to develop life skills which will serve them well for the rest of their lives.
After being presented with his award, he said: “I’m gob-smacked, this came out of the blue. I’m delighted but I’ll just keep my head down and keep going.
“When I see juniors coming through, they all improve. There’s only a handful at the end who go on to make the very top but at the end of it all, if their handicap has come down, they’ve learned a lot, and they learn life skills, which is what it’s all about. It’s not just about golf, but we teach them to lose and how to handle losing.
“The most rewarding thing has been all of it! 10 years ago when we had our first U14s game, we played the Golf Foundation and there was one boy who stood out above everyone else. He wasn’t in my Cheshire team but by the end of the day I’d chatted to his dad and he came on board. Last year, this youngster represented the GB&I team in the Walker Cup and that speaks volumes for me, it’s the icing on the cake.
“I dedicate this award to my late wife. I’ve had so many people help me in golf over the 40 years because as a Junior Organiser or a facilitator, you can’t do it on your own and you won’t achieve what you want. The more people you can get to help you, the more we can do for junior golf.”

Graham interviewed by Nick Dougherty

Copy & image: Geoff Garnett

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