DRAX Golf Club's youngest-ever club captain Liam Ridgill has been named England Golf’s Young Ambassador of the Year.

The 23-year-old was recognised for his contribution to the club and modernising the image of the sport at the England Golf Awards at the Royal Lancaster London.

Among the youngest golf club captains in the country, Ridgill was nominated alongside volunteer coaches Megan Field, 18, and Jess Pinnell, 15, from Birmingham, and golfing ambassador Georgina Wrixon, 18, from Dorset.

The judges recognised Ridgill’s enthusiasm, professionalism and innovative approach to attract people to the game, while calling his captaincy “a great achievement that shatters the preconceived idea of golf only being for middle-aged gents.”

Ridgill, from Thorne in South Yorkshire, is happy to be changing perceptions around golf, saying: “There’s this historical stigma around golf that it’s for people who are retired, but it’s a good sport for everyone to be involved in.

“It’s fantastic to be recognised, but I only do what I do for the love of the club and the members and the guys I play golf with. It’s as much an award for them as for me.

“We’re a tight-knit club and you get to know everyone. We’ve got a great set of members and we all pull together. It’s a strong community.”

Ridgill first started playing golf at eight and, after a break to try other sports, he returned to golf at the age of 14. Before long, he was made junior captain.

He joined the main committee three years ago, taking on responsibility for marketing, and has impressed the members and officials with his ‘can-do’ mentality.

Using his professional skills in marketing and IT, Ridgill has transformed the website and used it, together with social media, to promote the club, playing a key role in attracting new members and in launching open competitions to showcase the course.

One of his latest projects is to improve the course signage while he also aims to build up the junior section and retain players in their late teens and early 20s. Initiatives to support this include student and intermediate memberships, while each adult member is given two associate junior memberships for children or grandchildren.

Club secretary Matthew Forde commented: “I see first-hand the amount of work Liam puts in for the club. He is an invaluable member of the team.”

Alan Palmer, the 2017 senior captain, added: “For someone so young to be voted as 2018 captain reflects how well-liked and respected he is."

Awarded in association with the Golf Foundation, other titles on offer were Club of the Year, Coach of the Year, County of the Year, Most Welcoming Golf Club, Volunteer of the Year, Championship Venue of the Year and Performance of the Year, as well as a Lifetime Service Award.