When our Chairman, Sandy Jones, told delegates at our Annual Congress that the newly formed World PGA Alliance was based on the success of The PGAs of Europe it struck me as being a massive vote of confidence for everyone who has been involved in its development over the last 20 years, writes Ian Randell, Chief Executive, PGAs of Europe
This observation, coming as it did, a day or two before the announcement that the Canadian PGA were joining us as International Members, swelling our numbers to 37 PGAs comprising approximately 18,500 PGA Professionals, resonated as profoundly in my mind as it must have done with many others in the conference room.
For one thing it was a public statement of the advancement that has been made in our organisation in the last three years since the Board of Directors embarked on a series of meetings, and detailed discussions, on the formulation of a new overall strategy.
At that time The PGAs of Europe was approaching its 18-year Coming of Age, as a widely respected and well-established organisation, but needing to take a forensic look at itself in order to keep up with the times.
It had become clear that new challenges were ahead for a rapidly progressing profession and industry. The membership required an updated and upgraded set of regulations and principles. Education was an ever-more essential subject. Also, at the very heart of what we do, full recognition of the PGA professional as an expert in both the game and the business of golf, had to be an integral and escalating part of our philosophy.
Meanwhile, as the scope of the game expanded globally, the protection and promotion of all that it has to offer to external stakeholders, national governments and the European Union had inevitably increased in importance.
If our sport was to be developed more and more around the world, thereby providing new and exciting jobs, then we had to upgrade our administrative practices with ever-increasing vigour. In terms of relationships with external bodies, if professional golf was to speak with one voice in Europe, that voice had to be our voice.
So now, it seems, World PGAs have followed the example, to speak with one voice… and, if that is the case, then it is a deeply satisfying feeling for all of us as we enter 2010 nurturing some cautious hopes that the global economic situation will ease gradually and encourage a degree of growth.
Three years ago this month I was fortunate enough to be selected to serve as Chief Executive with the day-by-day responsibility of operating the strategy as it was put into place.
By means of our Membership Survey, each member country was given every opportunity to contribute to its formulation and to ensure that their particular needs were taken into account.
Also, as a result of our concentration on progress, education has made giant strides with the appointment of Tony Bennett as our first ever Director of Education, who has been able to support, guide and accelerate the fantastic work of our Education Committee. Eighteen of our Member PGAs currently have achieved the status of ‘Recognised Education Programme’ from this committee.
As a result, having recognised that this upgraded status is unattainable for the majority of other PGAs, new tools are either now in place or are being created to ensure that all Member PGAs provide, or have access to, a programme that meets the European standard in the foreseeable future.
This will be achieved through the creation of an Initial Professional Education (IPE) programme that is broken down into two stages, and a Tutor and Assessor training course to guarantee that suitably qualified people will deliver and assess these programmes. Coupled with a European wide Continual Professional Development (CPD) calendar, this will ensure that all PGA Professionals will have demonstrated playing competence, coaching, and golf business acumen, thereby truly justifying usage of the three most recognised letters in golf.
The streamlined governance structure and zonal system introduced in 2008 seems to be working well and achieving the objectives of improving member relations and engagement combined with more efficient decision-making on important issues.
To put our overall objective simply, while not wishing to be some bureaucratic Big Brother, it is our intention to set standards in all the activities of a PGA professional’s career profile and to help to see that those standards are achieved and surpassed so that they confirm and extend their status at the forefront of the development of the game.
We have a World PGA Alliance Congress in Orlando at the end of January combined with the PGA Merchandise Show. If this brief outline of our raison d’etre is the basis upon which such august bodies as the PGA of America, Australia and elsewhere decided to join forces to work together as one at such global gatherings, then our own three years of change have been rewarding, indeed.
A Happy New Year to you all.
Working Together Issue 40, the January 2010 edition of The PGAs of Europe E-Newsletter. http://www.pgae.com/newsletters/PGAsE%20Newsletter%20-%20Jan%202010.pdf