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Less than a year after merging the administration and management of male and female golf in Bedfordshire, the value of the unique initiative has been recognised by governing body England Golf with a special award as part of a celebration of  “all that’s great in the game in the country.”
One of the smallest golfing counties in the country with just 22 affiliated clubs and 9,000 members, Bedfordshire beat nominations from Yorkshire and Hampshire to land the coveted award after the County Union and Association unified to become Bedfordshire Golf.
Representing and working for all members and golfers in the County, the new administration has gone from strength to strength, placing a bigger focus and additional resources on family orientated golf, with the promotion of gender quality both on and off the course.
There is now a minimum 30% representation of either gender on the County Board at all County competitions and events this year, supported by a volunteer 50-strong task force of organisers, referees and helpers.
Says Bedfordshire Golf Chief Executive David Hawkins, a member of the Leighton Buzzard club where he has been Captain and President: “Encouraging golfers of the future has been central to revamped efforts to boosting junior golf across the county, with the inception of a girls’ academy which has helped grow the county’s regular girls group by 30 per cent.
Pictured at the England Golf Awards are Bedfordshire’s successful restructured management members (left to right )Tracy White (First team manager – Beds & County), Garrie Brandon (Leagues Director – Aspley Guise); Claire Cummings (Womens First team officer – Beds & County); Claudine Tate  (County Director – Dunstable Downs); David Hawkins (County CEO – Leighton Buzzard);  Kim Burnage (County Vice President – Aylesbury Vale); David Corfan (Director Competitions – South Beds); Simon Kimber (County President – John ’O Gaunt).