Supporters of junior grass roots golf from the world of business, media and sport made the 24th Golf Foundation Pro-Am, held at Buckinghamshire Golf Club on 11th October, a day to remember.
With strong backing from The European Tour, the Tour players and an invited group of Ladies European Tour players led 21 teams in competition on a superbly set up golf course in brilliant autumn sunshine. Later, generosity from all involved in a raffle and auction led to £21,000 being raised for leading golf charity the Golf Foundation.
This fundraising event 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.
The European Tour recognises the value of the Golf Foundation’s ‘Golf Roots’ programmes which aim to reach one million youngsters a year through golf by 2013 in support of the national golf partnerships of England, Scotland and Wales. Golf Roots provides the technical skills of golf but also the ‘Skills for Life’ that golf offers young people.
Here, both organisations are working together to celebrate the legacy of the Foundation’s founding father, and one of the UK’s premier touring golf professionals, Sir Henry Cotton. His passion for golf has been furthered by the Foundation and Tour players in creating eager golfers from diverse backgrounds and abilities.
At this year’s event, in front of the TV cameras, Tour favourites Gary Evans, Ross McFarlane, Richard Bland, Phil Golding, Robert Coles and others were joined by Alison Nicholas, Rebecca Hudson, Felicity Johnson, Kirsty Taylor and Sam Head from the Ladies European Tour to help their amateur team members around the challenging Buckinghamshire course.
All the Ladies European Tour players present, along with Jo Mundy, are Golf Roots Ambassadors for the Golf Foundation, as is European No.1 Lee Westwood.
At the prize giving, Charles Harrison, Chairman of the Golf Foundation, linked the heritage of the charity and Henry Cotton’s desire to grow the game in schools to the work of the current Foundation team that has succeeded in introducing golf to more than 40 per cent of schools. He also praised Director of Golf at Buckinghamshire Golf Club John O’Leary and his excellent staff for their continued support of the event.
Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “Everyone present has contributed in some way and shown great support for the Golf Foundation and the future of grass roots junior golf. Our team will work hard to put this money towards our national school and community initiatives which are encouraging many thousands of youngsters to enjoy golf and its benefits as they develop.”
Mike added: “The European Tour has been hugely encouraging in making the Pro-Am a strong date in the events diary and we are very grateful to the whole team there. We were also delighted to welcome friends from the Ladies European Tour who added a further exciting dimension to the day. Finally, I would also like to thank the excellent team at Buckinghamshire Golf Club for their help.”
The winning team came from CTV Outside Broadcast, who won the newly-named Wickham Shield with a score of 87 points, supported by their professional for the day, Ross McFarlane. In second place was the ‘Young At Heart’ team, third ‘The Wisley’ and fourth, ‘The Buckinghamshire’. The shield has been named after Hugh Wickham, formerly of The European Tour, who is now retired but played a major role in the success of the Pro-Am throughout its 24-year history.
Pro-Am competitors donated £6,150 in a raffle and auction. Prizes on the day were provided by Level 4, and friends of the Foundation contributed auction and raffle items.
Revenue raising opportunities like the Pro-Am remain vital for the Golf Foundation. This year’s funds will go towards the delivery of Foundation initiatives such as Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme in schools, the provision of the structured learning programme, the Junior Golf Passport, at golf clubs and driving ranges, and the Foundation’s Golf Roots City Project, which this year has been taking place in 21 cities.
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org