Harnessing and protecting the power of the PGA brand and taking an in-depth look at the Ryder Cup, were the hottest topics of the Annual Congress during an unforgettable ‘working together’ week on the Portugal’s Algarve coastline.
Ensuring that the PGAs of Europe and member PGAs are correctly positioned and that their influence is fully recognised by all relevant sources within the global structure of golf, were key themes of the comprehensive agenda.
These burning issues shone through the presentations of the congress’s 21st assembly,
staged for the first time in Portugal, sponsored by Glenmuir and the Associação Turismo do Algarve, and supported by the Tivoli Victoria Hotel, the Vale do Lobo Golf Club and the Ryder Cup European Development Trust.
Delegates from some 29 countries, in the state-of-the art Tivoli Victoria Hotel Conference Suite, were given:
- Interesting and enlightening presentations covering the potential power of the PGA brand and the absolute need to protect it.
- An inspirational video of Ryder Cup Wales, and its valuable legacy followed by a detailed insight into how the 2018 host will be chosen… to complete a fascinating look back and look forward.
- A keynote address by the iconic golf course architect, Robert Trent Jones jnr.
A comprehensive cross-section of golf’s high achievers were honoured with a variety of prestigious accolades at the Annual Awards Gala Dinner.
From the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award presented to iconic course architect Robert Trent Jones Jnr, to a video of Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A, receiving the Christer Lindberg Bowl for services to the game in his capacity with The R&A and role in the successful bid for golf’s inclusion in the Olympics, it was an evening to remind the 200-strong gathering of the servants and services that make sport the phenomenon that it has become.
In between there were awards to four Five-Star Professionals – Italian Ryder Cup pioneer Costantino Rocca, coach to the world stars Pete Cowen, eminent Canadian super-teacher Henry Brunton, and long-serving Scottish guru Bill Lockie whose pupils have included 2009 PGA Tour event-winner, Martin Laird.
As honour followed upon honour, England, received the International Team Championship trophy they had won the previous day in the title-race that run concurrently with the Annual Congress, but was shortened from 72 holes to 54 holes by heavy rain affecting the course.
It was also a very special occasion for the PGA of Estonia, newly co-opted into the PGAs of Europe membership and another nation from Eastern Europe welcomed enthusiastically to the fold and the PGA of Poland who achieved full recognition of their Education Programme.
There were ‘Farewell’ gifts for Heinz Fehring, retiring Honorary President and for Leif Ohlsson, retiring Education Committee Chairman, for the years of service that he has given to ensuring that the PGAs of Europe’s education system is the envy of so many other sports and an all-round atmosphere of bonhomie at the end of an assembly of what has become known by some as ‘the European Golf Family.’
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