Friends of grass roots junior golf from the world of business, media and sport joined forces last Monday (October 10) to compete in a celebratory 30th Golf Foundation Pro-Am, supported by the European Tour. The event raised more than £18,000 to help young people from different backgrounds to enjoy the benefits of golf.
The European Tour has been at the forefront of every Golf Foundation Pro-Am since the first in 1986. This year’s event, held at London Golf Club for a fifth year, had a special anniversary feel for supporters of this nationally recognised charity which helps boys and girls to ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in the sport and encourages them to learn valuable ‘Skills for Life’ associated with the game.
The generosity of all the players on the day in their team bookings, raffle ticket buying and their enthusiasm in the after-dinner auction added to a 30-year story in which this Pro-Am has raised nearly £500,000 for the Golf Foundation’s work.
Every penny raised again this year will go towards the charity’s HSBC Golf Roots initiative. The Foundation relies on support from all golfers as it introduces half-a-million young people to golf every year through HSBC Golf Roots, creating a player pathway from school and community golf to regular play at the golf club.
Last Monday, 22 teams enjoyed some refreshing autumn sunshine and breezes on the Heritage course at London Golf Club. Amateurs were guided by European Tour, Challenge Tour, European Senior Tour and Ladies’ European Tour players around the course which earned rave reviews for its excellent condition.
The scoring went to the wire. The victorious team with 88 points and winner of the Wickham Shield was actually from London Golf Club, winning a ‘card playoff’ with the second place team from the European Tour (also 88), while third placed Watchfinder scored 87 points, prevailing in their own countback with CTV Outside Broadcasts (also 87) in fourth position.
Following the play, Foundation Chief Executive Brendon Pyle thanked everyone present for supporting the Golf Foundation and raised a toast to one absent friend, Hugh Wickham, who passed away in May. Hugh was a stalwart of the European Tour for many years and a man who, through his enthusiasm and gentle persuasion, was instrumental in making the Pro-Am the great event it has become over three decades.
Stephen Lewis, Chairman of the Golf Foundation, said: “After 30 years this Pro-Am remains a very important part of our fundraising activity to make the game more accessible to youngsters. Thanks to all the backing we receive throughout the year, from leading organisations in golf to all the club golfers out there who want to show their support for juniors, the Golf Foundation is able to make a massive difference in the lives of many young people and really help the next generation to engage with this wonderful sport.
“Without the support of the European Tour, this Pro-Am would never have thrived, so we really are very grateful for all their help. We would like to thank every amateur who takes part and also all the Tour Professionals who do a fantastic job in helping us all to get round this excellent golf course. Finally, a big thank you to the great team at London Golf Club for making us all feel so welcome here.”
The Golf Foundation wishes to thank all those companies and organisations which have shown their support for the Pro-Am, including donating auction items and prizes. These include HSBC, London Golf Club, Titleist, the European Tour Wives Association (ETWA), the Ladies European Tour, ETIQUS, Glenmuir, The Groucho Club, The Ryder Cup, PING, Hopkins, Woburn Golf Club, Prince’s Golf Club, and everyone else who kindly donated prizes.
London Golf Club is a European Tour Destination
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org
European Tour www.europeantour.com
London Golf Club www.londongolf.co.uk