A tribute to Charles HarrisonThe Golf Foundation is saddened to hear that Charles Harrison, former Chairman of our charity, has died aged 73 following a short illness. He will be much missed by all in the Golf Foundation team.
Picture: Charles Harrison (right) presents our Spirit of Golf Award to Justin Rose
Current Chairman Stephen Lewis said: “Everyone in the Golf Foundation has been deeply saddened to hear this news. We offer our heartfelt sympathies to Charles’s wife Sarah and all his family. Charles was very much a guiding light to our charity as Chairman and was an inspirational figure to the Board, all our staff, and the many volunteers we work with. He loved his role as Chairman and thoroughly believed in all of us.”
A highly intelligent, driven, yet warm-hearted man, Charles Harrison had actually been coached by the Golf Foundation as a boy and would later emerge as perhaps its strongest ambassador.
He served as Chairman for the national charity that introduces young people to golf from all backgrounds between 2009 and 2016. He proved himself to be a natural leader at a time when the charity was under significant pressure, helping the organisation to ensure its survival.
At this time he was at the forefront as the Foundation’s team was demonstrating the power of golf to change young lives, and promoting the sport’s wider values to new audiences. He championed this cause as a fervent believer of the game’s ability to instil life skills such as confidence, resilience and focus in children of all abilities, and to provide joy and friendship to all its young players. No one demonstrated these qualities that can be learned on the golf course better than Charles Harrison.
Bringing his business expertise (he had a long career with Shell), Charles offered insight, financial acumen and also considerable flair to the role of Chairman, helping to secure future funding from core sponsors.
Charles loved golf and loved talking golf. After receiving Golf Foundation coaching as a boy he developed his golf to win the Cambridgeshire County Championship at the age of 16; he would become a Cambridge ‘Blue’ and captained Cambridge University Golf Club. He would go on to be Captain at Sunningdale Golf Club.
This energetic approach as Chairman and the warmth he shared with the charity’s staff made him the great persuader for the Golf Foundation’s cause, opening doors, making organisation leaders sit up and listen and turning many no’s into yes’s.
He had the confidence to walk up to a multiple European Tour winner and ask him to put the Golf Foundation logo on his sleeve but would then love to finish a day at The Open by enjoying a drink with the Golf Foundation team and their friends; a mischievous sense of humour was never far away.
Brendon Pyle, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “Charles believed totally in the purpose of the Golf Foundation and threw himself wholeheartedly into the role. One of his great strengths was he loved meeting people, from children and parents in our local golf projects to Royal visitors on our stand at The Open. Charles was the embodiment of how golf can provide fun, competition, learning about life and great friendships for all who play the game.”
Golf Foundation Head of Development Martin Crowder added: “Charles had a genuine passion for the Golf Foundation and was a real champion for what we do. He always took an interest in our personal lives too.”
Schools Manager Andy Leigh said: “I will always hold very fond memories of Charles. As Chairman he genuinely cheered us all on.”
Regional Development Officer Daisy Brierley said: “Charles gave me such a warm welcome to the Golf Foundation and was always so supportive. My thoughts go out to his family.”
Finance Officer Paula Williams added: “Charles was such an advocate for the Golf Foundation and played a pivotal role as Chairman. Kind and supportive, he will be sadly missed.”
Following his work with the Foundation, Charles moved on to serve on The R&A’s General Committee from 2016 to 2020 and was Chairman of both its Golf Development and Sustainability Committees.