The announcement of the PGA of Europe’s involvement in the future benefits of the Ryder Cup as 20% Partners makes clear that the most important outcome will be the opportunity to aid member countries with ‘grass roots’ training programmes.
The development will enhance the Association’s existing policy of helping future generations of golfers. The livelihood of the Association’s members depends almost entirely on the amateurs, the public at large.
The news of the initiative to spread Ryder Cup proceeds throughout Europe is, however, a reminder that the PGA of Europe has been pursuing such a policy for many years now, thanks to grants made by the R&A from surpluses arising from the Open Championship.
For some time ‘golfing missionaries’, in the shape of suitable, profoundly-qualified coaches, have been sent to a whole list of would-be golfing nations needing help to launch meaningful training programmes.
In each country this assistance takes two forms. First there is the coaching given to people of all ages and both sexes in the intricacies of the game of golf and, secondly, the establishing of a training programme aimed at producing a flow of indigenous teaching professionals.
Nations can realistically claim to have developed in golfing terms only when they can annually turn out new and comprehensively-qualified teaching professionals of their own to filter through to golf clubs and to create more training academies.
Sweden is always regarded as the shining example of this in that, say, 20 years ago golf was a virtually unknown, minority sport. Nowadays, due to training programmes planted and nurtured, Sweden is one of the strongest golfing countries in the world.
With the support of the R&A over many years, the Training Standards Committee of the PGAE (recently renamed as the Education Committee) has sent its golfing missionaries to such places as Russia (now producing fine young players), Estonia and other Eastern bloc nations, India, Sri Lanka, the Ivory Coast, and many more.
The PGA of Europe www.pgae.com