PGA Professionals are at the heart of the Golf Foundation’s work in changing the lives of young people by introducing them to golf. This continuing positive relationship was celebrated at last week’s Golf Foundation Presidents’ Awards at Wentworth during the BMW PGA Championship (September 18).
The vital role played by PGA Professionals in encouraging more young people to ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in golf was recognised when seven of the PGA Professionals highlighted during the Awards joined The Professional Golfers’ Association Chief Executive Robert Maxfield on the stage to celebrate their contribution during the last 12 months.
The support of PGA Professionals has helped this national child-centred charity to reach 500,000 young people through golf in the last year through its HSBC Golf Roots programme, with more than 144,000 boys and girls receiving coaching from a PGA Professional in their school, and more than 51,000 then visiting a golf club to experience the sport; creating an extra 3,422 affiliated junior members in the last year.
A substantial growth area for the PGA Professional in recent years has been their outreach coaching in schools, supported by the Golf Foundation team, before offering taster sessions for groups back at the golf club and providing structured follow-on coaching using the Golf Foundation’s PGA-endorsed Junior Golf Passport.
PGA Professionals have helped to create considerable momentum this year in our golf clubs through GolfSixes League, the six-a-side, six-hole, team league series that has taken place in 55 inter-club leagues in England, Scotland and Wales, involving 260 golf clubs and 3,000 boys and girls new to golf. Club Professionals take regular group coaching in all cases and manage many of the squads, welcoming increasing numbers of visiting parents to their golf facility for the weekend fixtures.
Their support in GolfSixes League has been instrumental in creating growing numbers of girl players in the leagues (33% girls this year), while PGA Professionals have been a driving force behind ‘Girls Golf Rocks’, the Golf Foundation/England Golf initiative that is encouraging new young girl players into the game in 26 counties. Golf Foundation programmes have led to a 48% increase in girls visiting a golf club in the last year.
The Golf Foundation created the ‘Unleash your Drive’ pilot programme this year in which PGA Professionals delivered and measured life skills with young golfers, creating a 20% increase in confidence, commitment, emotional control and mental toughness in four core groups of young players.
Robert Maxfield, PGA Chief Executive, said: “The partnership between the Golf Foundation and the PGA is testament to how successful development programmes can be when we coordinate our efforts and support those people who deliver golf at a grass roots level – the PGA Professional. We are delighted with the results of the schools programmes and other initiatives and look forward to an even closing working relationship with the Golf Foundation in the future.”
Golf Foundation Chief Executive Brendon Pyle said: “We see PGA coaches as being at the heart of our delivery and success and it’s important that we all recognise the PGA Professional is essential to inspire the next generation of players for the benefit of the whole golf industry. We were delighted to draw attention to this to a wide and influential audience at our Presidents’ Awards and to welcome Rob Maxfield and all the PGA Professionals present onto the stage at Wentworth for what was a great moment for our team.”
Readers can read more about the 10 Presidents’ Award winners at https://bit.ly/2ksZi2E
Pictured top: PGA CEO Rob Maxfield (4th from left) with PGA Pros connected with award winners – (Getty Images)