The European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA) has welcomed Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, to join its Board as a non-executive Director.
Pelley is seen as an “exciting and important” appointment to EDGA’s Board as the organisation for golfers with a disability continues to improve and expand competitive opportunities for players internationally.
Also joining the Board is Dr Roger Hawkes, one of sport’s most respected consultant physicians, who will take on the role of Executive Director for its newly-formed Classification Team.
Dr Hawkes is a consultant sport and exercise physician and Executive Director of the World Golf Foundation who is also Chief Medical Officer of the European Tour and responsible for its extensive operational requirements, as well as its research programme.
Roger, who was involved in the development of the European Tour Anti-Doping policy, is a member of the Medical Committee of the International Golf Federation (IGF) and on the Medical Advisory Committee of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Meanwhile, Professor Hans Arendzen has stepped down from the Board after many years of accomplished service with EDGA. Hans will remain available to serve EDGA on medical matters as required.
Supported by globally respected health and disability experts, the organisation is currently working with the IGF as it seeks to influence the Paralympic bodies so that elite golfers with a disability are able to take their golf to the very highest international level. There were 14 tournaments in EDGA’s Tournament Series in 2017 compared with four in 2013.
The European Tour selected EDGA as its Official Charity for this year’s Portugal Masters for a second year, facilitating its team to raise €25,000 for golf disability projects in Portugal. Meanwhile, six EDGA golfers were invited to take part in a short exhibition match alongside leading European Tour players in front of spectators and the cameras on the Saturday of the event.
The PGAs of Europe Director of Education Tony Bennett, who is the President of EDGA, said: “We are delighted to welcome Keith Pelley to our Board. Keith is highly respected for his business acumen and progressive thinking in both his work for the European Tour and in previous roles in the wider field of sports and media, and we have no doubt that this association will be exciting and important for all involved in EDGA.
“Dr Roger Hawkes is not only one of the foremost physicians in sport, his experience in the golf community and his expertise regarding health and golf make him a superb addition to the EDGA Board at a significant time for the organisation. Roger’s great knowledge is sure to assist golfers with disability who are looking to reach their potential, while the respect he has earned throughout the golf industry will offer our Board valuable insight as we work together to advance the opportunities for ‘Golfers First’.”
Tony added: “The European Tour has been a key supporter of EDGA as we pursue our stated objectives to give people with disability the opportunity to try, participate, and compete in golf. The backing from the Tour and other major partners has seen this organisation grow in support from eight national golf federations in 2013 to 24 today, which in turn has extended our influence to make change.
“In terms of profile, the way the European Tour encouraged and promoted golf for the disabled during the recent Portugal Masters was of great benefit not only to raise awareness, but also to help every organisation realise that, with over 100 million people classified as disabled in Europe alone, golf could be a great opportunity to get people active.”
Keith Pelley said: “I am delighted to join the Board of the European Disabled Golf Association and I look forward to assisting in the excellent work they do across Europe, helping people with a wide range of disabilities to play and enjoy the wonderful sport of golf.
“I saw for myself the positive impact made during our recent Portugal Masters, not just in terms of the fundraising element but also in terms of raising the profile of EDGA through the joint golf match on the Saturday. Our members got just as much out of that experience, if not more, than the EDGA golfers did and we will be looking to engage in more of this type of activity moving forwards.”
Roger Hawkes said: “I am delighted to join the Board of EDGA and take on this role. Golf has so much to offer the health and wellbeing of all its participants and I look forward to helping develop the game for all.”
EDGA Vice President Pieter van Duijn said: “I know that I speak on behalf of all at EDGA when thanking Professor Hans Arendzen for the excellent contribution he has made to our Board and Medical Committee over many years. Hans felt that it was the right time to stand aside and to let others continue the drive for greater integration of golfers with disability. Hans has been a great friend to the EDGA family and we are delighted that we will still be able to draw on his considerable expertise going forwards.”
Top picture Dr Roger Hawkes (left) and Tony Bennett
European Disabled Golf Association www.edgagolf.com
European Tour www.europeantour.com