Supporters of junior grass roots golf from the world of business, media and sport came together on Monday (7th October) to enjoy the 27th Golf Foundation Pro-Am, held at London Golf Club.
The golf tournament, auction and dinner created an excellent fundraising effort from all involved, with £20,000 being raised for the Golf Foundation, the charity that makes golf more accessible to youngsters from all backgrounds and circumstances.
This day has a prestige all of its own thanks to The European Tour’s support, which dates back to the first Golf Foundation Pro-Am in 1986. Nearly £200,000 has been raised during the last 10 years to help the Golf Foundation reach increasing numbers of boys and girls through its HSBC Golf Roots initiative, which offers playing opportunities in schools and community projects and then feeds young people through to golf clubs, academies and driving ranges.
With strong backing from The European Tour, the Tour players and invited members from the Ladies’ European Tour led 22 teams in competition on the superbly set up International course at London Golf Club, a European Tour Destination, in Kent. Many players present commented on the challenging but exciting layout that has been used for the European Tour Qualifying School and Regional Open Qualifying in the recent past.
In autumn sunshine the competition produced some fine team scoring, and the winning team, with a high total of 100 points in a better-ball stableford, was ‘Dynamo Silver’, led by its Professional, Robert McGuirk. The team was presented with the Wickham Shield by Hugh Wickham himself (Hugh, in his work for The European Tour, was the guiding light of the tournament and is a great supporter of the Foundation).
Following the dinner in a lively auction led by George Griffiths, golfers made bids for strong items including Ryder Cup golf and England football tickets, signed international rugby shirts, golf flags signed by star players and leisure packages, all raising valuable funds.
The European Tour recognises the value of the Golf Foundation’s HSBC Golf Roots programme, which works in partnership with the golfing bodies in England, Wales and Scotland. HSBC Golf Roots provides the technical skills of golf but also the ‘Skills for Life’ that golf offers young people.
At the prize-giving, Fredrik Lindgren of The European Tour, said: “Everyone should support the Golf Foundation’s work in schools, the community and golf clubs. The Foundation puts a golf club in the hands of youngsters and offers them the opportunity to enjoy this beautiful game. Those who have an interest in golf should support fundraising events like this because encouraging youngsters is very much the future of this sport.”
Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “This was an excellent day and I would like to congratulate all the players and teams for putting in such a good effort on The International course today. Of course, everyone present has made a great contribution to our charity today and they should be proud of the support they have shown for junior grass roots golf.
“We are also indebted to The European Tour for their excellent support and experience in staging this event. The Tour players involved always add so much to the experience and all of us amateurs were grateful for their expertise and encouragement. A great thank you also to Hugh Wickham who remains a great friend to all at the Golf Foundation.
“Finally, I would like to thank London Golf Club General Manager Austen Gravestock and his team for making everyone feel so welcome and providing a brilliant stage for our annual Pro-Am.”
Throughout the day, competitors were able to use the Golf GameBook live scoring system on supplied iPhones to record their score, courtesy of Clarion Golf.
This year’s Pro-Am funds will go towards the delivery of Foundation initiatives such as Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme in schools, and the provision of the newly adapted learning programme, the Junior Golf Passport, at golf clubs and driving ranges, which is expected to help retain many more youngsters in the club environment who have first tried golf in their school or the community.
The Golf Foundation wishes to thank all the many companies and organisations who generously donated auction items and raffle prizes for the day. These include Adams Golf, Essex Auto Group, The European Tour, Glenmuir, HSBC, London Golf Club, Mizuno, Moët Hennessy, Mouton Cadet, Robert McGuirk, Ryder Cup Europe, Srixon, TaylorMade Golf, Titleist, The Tour Players’ Foundation, Tractor Hire Ltd, Wembley, Wentworth Club, and Woburn Golf Club.
HSBC Golf Roots and the Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org