As Nick Faldo’s Ryder Cup players prepare to do battle against the United States at Valhalla, Louisville, Kentucky later this month, they have the satisfaction of knowing just how much the competition is benefiting golf throughout Europe.
Since The PGAs of Europe became 20% partners in The Ryder Cup, for this purpose, in 2004 a sum in excess of €2.2m has been accrued. It has enabled programmes for juniors, the disabled, and other charitable causes, to be approved in six different countries.
Schemes in Germany, Ireland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and the UK have been joined, in the last year, by others in Italy and Poland in making successful applications for funding. Several more schemes are in the pipeline for possible future aid from such countries as Russia, Romania, Belgium, France and Cyprus, who have made applications that remain under discussion.
The Piedmont Regional Committee of the Italian Golf Federation is to receive support in providing the country’s first public course for teaching golf, while Poland benefit from financial help in training its own golf tutors. These two schemes have been added to a list consisting of programmes to aid disabled children in Germany, junior golf in Ireland, similar work in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, and disadvantaged children in the UK.
As one outstanding example of the invaluable work being carried out, Miroslav Holub, general secretary of the Czech Golf Federation, reports that the number of junior training centres funded by a trust fund grant has risen from 10 in 2006 to 16 in 2007. This means that more than 800 Czech children are now involved ‘with the number growing month by month’. The CGF organises regional tournaments among the centres and these are being increased this year.
The Czech scheme is being supervised by Keith Williams, a PGAs of Europe 5-star professional and coach of the Czech National squad, who has the help of a team of 30 PGA professionals teaching the children.
“The JTC programme gives players a clear route to progress toward the national squad,” said Miroslav Holub. “There is no question that they greatly benefit from the sound fundamentals that they acquire. We are more than grateful for the support we have received.”
Bulgaria report that their Junior Golf Development Programme now has nine schools in Sofia taking part along with others around the country as the sport continues to flourish there.
Ireland, whose spectacular Ryder Cup at the K Club contributed significantly to the total fund, has given a comprehensive report of the immense benefits of the grants they are receiving. This includes the setting up of 135 coaching centres in 30 counties across Ireland along with too many other advances to list here.
PGAs of Europe www.pgae.com