Martin Izzard – a man with a passion for golf and growing the game - has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year Honours list for his services to golf.

Martin is recognised for his services to golf through the Northamptonshire Golf Partnership, which he chairs and which has brought hundreds of new players in to the game in the county.

Martin, who is involved in golf at club, county and national level, commented: “It’s great to get a pat on the back but this award is really for Northamptonshire golf and for the many people who have worked so hard to put us on the map. We are only a little county, but we like to think we are starting to punch above our weight.”

The Northamptonshire Golf Partnership is part of a national network and brings together the men’s, women’s and professionals’ county organisations to develop the game at grass roots level. It was one of the first to form in England and Martin has been involved since its earliest days in 2007.

As well as welcoming newcomers to the game the Partnership offers a pathway for talented youngsters into the county’s coaching structure.

“It’s wonderful to have role models such as England international Ryan Evans of Wellingborough and the LET’s rookie of the year, Charley Hull, who started her golf at Kettering,” said Martin. “One of my proudest moments this year was going to the Northamptonshire Sports Awards and seeing young lads and lasses collecting awards for golf.”

Martin’s work with the Partnership is a natural extension of his enthusiasm for golf, which he first played as a 14-year-old. Since then, he has been involved both as a player – with over 100 appearances for his county – and an administrator.

He’s been a member of Northampton Golf Club for over 40 years, is a trustee of the club and a past captain. He’s been County President and has just retired after 26 years on the county’s executive committee – and been rewarded with honorary life membership of the Northamptonshire County Golf Union.

“I’m passionate about golf,” he said. “It’s such a good game in so many ways: there’s the friendship and camaraderie, it’s good for you and gets you outside in the countryside, and it teaches you about dealing with the ups and downs of life.”

Nationally, he has served on the executive committee of the former English Golf Union (now England Golf) as well as on committees responsible for championships and handicapping. He is currently a member of the England Golf tournament panel, assisting at national events.