The PGA of Europe Annual Congress, at Atalaya Park Hotel, Costa del Sol in December, could mark the beginnings of a new era of co-operation between professional and amateur bodies in golf.
In a move aimed specifically to foster the growing sense of understanding between the paid and the unpaid ranks, the European Golf Association will be represented, while every amateur Federation and Union in Europe, and some beyond, has each been invited to send two representatives.
This includes the amateur authorities from the 33 countries whose PGA’s are either members or associate members of the PGAE, plus emerging golfing nations who have future aspirations to become PGAE members such as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia.
“One of our key specifications when advising countries on how to set up a PGA and join us is to encourage them to involve their amateur bodies, and to work closely with them, so that they have a better understanding of what we can offer them,” explained Lawrie Thornton, the PGAE general secretary.
“We like federations to have a clear idea of what the golf professional is about, where his role fits into the amateur objectives and what his career educational standard and qualifications are, so that they can be utilised in a positive manner,” he added.
“There are, or certainly have been, some countries where there is a very wide divide between its PGA and its federation. Sometimes it is brought about by the law of that country because the federation has been granted, by its government, total responsibility for running golf there.
“In earlier times, in many countries, golf was an elitist sport for the out-and-out amateur while, in contrast, the professional was given the ‘cloth cap’ image, the guy round the back, in the shop, who could only go in the clubhouse if invited in as the guest of the captain.
“This, happily, has changed. While golf remains unique in rightly maintaining a strict divide between the amateur and the professional, and no-one would surely want to change that, we do wish to achieve a greater understanding of what the professional brings to the sport.
“With this understanding, comes greater respect. Increasingly, and against this background, both codes acknowledge that working together is the only way and the PGAE Annual Congress, in conjunction with the EGA, can be a landmark event for both the amateur and the professional.”
Further details will appear in the July issue of ‘GolfPro’ the official quarterly publication of the PGA of Europe, distributed to some 12,000 club professionals in 33 countries in Europe and beyond along with trade outlets and media.
PGA of Europe www.pgae.com