The R&A has appointed experienced golf administrator Mark Lawrie as its Director – Latin America.
Lawrie will join The R&A from the Asociación Argentina de Golf, where he has served as Executive Director since 2000.
In his new role, Lawrie will be closely involved in the staging of the Latin America Amateur Championship, a joint initiative between The R&A, the Masters and the USGA, which will be played for the first time at Pilar Golf in Buenos Aires from 15-18 January 2015.
His wider responsibilities will include overseeing The R&A’s development work in Latin America. The R&A supports a range of existing championships in the region, Rules education programmes and development projects in several countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Uruguay which, in many cases, have led to the establishment of public golf courses and facilities.
Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “We are delighted to welcome Mark on board and believe his appointment will enable us to enhance our co-ordination of the increasing range of initiatives we are supporting in Latin America. We have taken a similar approach in the Asia-Pacific region which has proved extremely effective.
“The R&A has been actively supporting golf in Latin America for more than a decade and we have invested considerably in championships and development projects. With golf set to return to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 there is a real opportunity to attract more people to take up the sport.”
Lawrie, who will continue to be based in Buenos Aires, said, “I am very pleased to be joining The R&A and to have the opportunity to assist with the important work it does in developing golf in Latin America. The advent of the Latin America Amateur Championship is a major step forward and will create an important platform for elite amateurs to compete and progress their careers.
“I will also be working closely with The R&A’s affiliated organisations in the region to ensure that we are effectively supporting their work in encouraging participation in golf.”
Lawrie taught English and history whilst at law school in Argentina and then worked in the farming industry. He joined the Argentine Golf Association, as a Board member in 1996 and was appointed Executive Director in 2000. In that time, he served as Captain of the Argentine Eisenhower Trophy team on five occasions and as Captain of the country’s Southern Cross Trophy team from 2001 to 2009.
Lawrie was on the organising committee for the staging of the World Amateur Team Championships in Buenos Aires in 2010 and that year worked with the PGA Tour in establishing the PGA Tour Latinoamérica. He also helped to establish the biennial Copa de Las Americas men’s and women’s team championships. Lawrie currently serves on the Administrative Committee of the International Golf Federation and on the Board of the Federación Sudamericana de Golf.
Lawrie, who plays to a handicap of eight, lives with his wife in Buenos Aires and has three children. He will take up his new role with The R&A with immediate effect.