It is all change at the top of the Golf Foundation as the charity welcomed formally a new President and new Chairman at its annual general meeting yesterday (Thursday, 28th April).
New President Sandy Jones, Chief Executive of the PGA, has now taken over from Ryder Cup hero Colin Montgomerie after five years, while golf industry expert Stephen Lewis, former CEO of Crown Golf, assumes the Chairman’s role from Charles Harrison, who has served the charity for seven years.
The appointments, made public by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees in February of this year and last September respectively, were ratified at the AGM at Wentworth today.
They are seen as key for the nationally recognised golf charity which makes the benefits of golf available to young people, and helps them to ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in the sport.
Since 2011, the Golf Foundation’s HSBC Golf Roots programme has given a first introduction to golf to more than 3 million young people across the United Kingdom. The aim is to encourage ever increasing numbers of young people into golf clubs so they can learn their golf with PGA Professionals, while offering youngsters the ‘Skills for Life’ benefits associated with the game.
During the AGM, those present saw latest HSBC Golf Roots figures which show just under 40,000 young people had passed through the gates of a golf club in a year to enjoy the benefits of golf – a significant 21% increase on the previous year. The aim is to reach 50,000 by 2018, with 10,000 young people each year playing golf regularly at club level through the initiative.
New President Sandy Jones has said that he is ‘thrilled’ to take on the role of President. He said: “This charity is all about helping the next generation of young players, so if I can help the Golf Foundation team through my experience in the game I’ll be delighted.”
New Chairman Stephen Lewis said: “I feel very proud to have been chosen as the Golf Foundation’s new Chairman. I passionately believe in the core values, aims and goals of the Golf Foundation and look to build on the excellent work and progress that the outgoing Chairman Charles Harrison has delivered. I am really keen to play a part in helping the next generation of players and will grab this unique opportunity to support the Golf Foundation and its highly motivated team led by Brendon Pyle.”
Golf Foundation Chief Executive Brendon Pyle said: “Our Board of Trustees and all involved in our charity are delighted that in Sandy and Stephen we are being supported by two passionate golf people who share years of experience in the golf industry and in the sport at the highest level. We also know that they care deeply about the future of the game and understand completely why this charity’s support of young people from all backgrounds and circumstances, from all walks of life, is so important.
“Colin Montgomerie has been an inspirational President for the Golf Foundation as this charity has sought to raise itself to a higher level in terms of enriching the lives of young people through golf. Colin has served us in a period of highly successful growth. In this time, he has publicly championed HSBC Golf Roots at every opportunity and has always been delighted to roll up his sleeves and take on youngsters in Tri-Golf at public golf events, usually winning but always with a smile. We are hugely grateful to Colin for his efforts.”
Brendon added: “The Golf Foundation has been incredibly fortunate to have had Charles Harrison as its Chairman for the last seven years, benefiting greatly from his financial and business acumen, his shrewd judgement and personal energy, plus his passion for the ideals of this junior golf charity. Charles’ level of engagement with both the staff and the external stakeholders, his attention to detail, and his influence within the golfing world has helped the Foundation make significant advances.”
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org