The way in which golf organisations from anywhere in the world where the sport is played, can co-operate to mutual benefit in a Working Together philosophy, was dramatically illustrated at The PGAs of Europe’s Annual Congress in Murcia, Spain.
In a ground-breaking agenda of presentations under the heading of Professional Golf Forum representatives of the European Tour, the European Golf Association (representing the amateur Federations) and The PGAs of Europe, joined together for the first time to debate issues of global importance to a sport of ever-widening horizons.
With the recent formation of the PGA World Alliance, based on The PGAs of Europe as a role model, and coinciding with golf becoming an Olympic sport again, the spirit of world unity could not have been better demonstrated than in this meeting of minds in Murcia.
“The PGAs of Europe are proud to have hosted the inaugural Professional Golf Forum featuring, as it did, a high-level of cooperation between three such representative organisations as the European Tour, The European Golf Association and ourselves,” said Ian Randell, chief executive of The PGAs of Europe “The Congress reflected the very unity of purpose that is the basis of our working together philosophy.”
Featuring speakers from America, Canada, Scandinavia and elsewhere around Europe, the Congress left almost no stone unturned in tackling topics that affect both the profession of golf on a world scale and the increasingly popular game for sport and leisure purposes.
Also, at The PGAs of Europe’s AGM, which took place during its annual week of activities including the Annual Congress, International Team Championship and Awards Dinner, an application by The PGA of Canada to become an International Member, was rubber-stamped.
This took The PGAs of Europe to an unprecedented strength of 30 Full Member PGAs and 7 International Members, (comprising those based beyond Europe’s boundaries). As a result the collective individual membership now numbers over 18,500 professionals spread across the continents, all linked together in an organisation striving for a unified approach to every career requirement.
The Congress richly achieved its objective of leading the way in encouraging bodies at all levels of golf to combine in preserving the integrity of the sport while also meeting its many demands in the 21st century for amateurs, professionals, both genders, and its industry.
Sandy Jones, Chairman of The PGAs of Europe, told delegates that the formation of The PGAs of Europe in 1990 and its subsequent success had proved a blueprint for the World Alliance.
“Best practice was shared (under The PGAs of Europe umbrella) which resulted in the raising of standards by education, improved coaches and the way players are prepared,” he said. “Now the best young players in the world are coming from Europe. Everybody involved should be very proud of that. All of which made us ask – ‘why can’t that be done across the world?”
The Congress was opened by addresses from Ian Randell, John Storjohann (General Secretary of the EGA) and Fredrik Lindgren (Marketing Executive of the European Tour). There followed a series of presentations on the theme of Player Development – From Beginner to Winner including one by Paul Metzler of the PGA of America on the subject ‘Get Golf Ready’.
There was a comprehensive four-man case study of how the game has been grown in Holland, and a panel discussion on Right Coach, Right Place, Right Time in a whole agenda covering best educational practices and, later, a presentation on the subject of Golf in the Olympics including an interview with Peter Dawson, chief executive of The R&A.
One practical illustration of the benefits of a unified and all-embracing policy among PGAs on education came with the acceptance of The PGA of Iceland’s training programme by The PGAs of Europe’s Education Committee.
Detailed coverage of the Congress and its presentations will be found in the Working Together monthly e-newsletter to be posted on the website www.pgae.com soon