Junior Golf Ireland – a three-way partnership between the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI), the Irish Ladies Golf union (ILGU) and The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Irish Region – is the latest recipient of an award from The Ryder Cup European Development Trust.
The Trust, set up in April 2004, is a registered charity under the control of the PGAs of Europe Ltd with objectives to further develop golf across Europe and a ceremony was held at Loch Lomond Golf Club today at which Irish Ryder Cup player Paul McGinley handed over a cheque for €50,000 to Anne-Marie Hughes, Director of Junior Golf Ireland (JGI).
The cheque is the first of three identical sums which Junior Golf Ireland will receive over the next three years to assist the development of the game in the host country for this year’s Ryder Cup at The K Club, Straffan, Co. Kildare, from September 22-24.
The Ryder Cup European Development Trust accrues profits from The Ryder Cup in a tax free method to give the Trust the opportunity to maximise funds to contribute to golf projects across Europe from grass roots to professional level.
JGI is the introductory stage to golf for each of the three partner organisations, the GUI and the PGA. This funding from the Trust ensures that JGI has the necessary structures in place to sustain long-term development of players for the future of golf in Ireland through its grass roots programme.
McGinley, a two-time Ryder Cup player and the man who holed the winning putt for Europe at The De Vere Belfry in 2002, said: “Darren, Padraig and I were all part of the revolutionary stage of the GUI when John Garner was appointed as the first coach. We were all in our mid-teens and required a bit of direction.
“I can’t speak for the others, but in my case I wouldn’t be here without the help and support of the GUI. They supported me then and I am very happy to support them now and in the future.”
Anne-Marie Hughes said: “We want to promote golf to young people throughout Ireland so that they will see golf as an opportunity to develop new skills and equip them to play golf throughout their life. Who knows? There may be another Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington or Paul McGinley out there.”
Michael McCumiskey, Secretary of the PGA Irish Region, said: “This strong partnership in Irish golf can help revolutionise the structure for Irish junior golf. We are delighted that the financial support from The Ryder Cup European Development Trust will help make this a reality.”
Sandy Jones, Chief Executive of the PGA, commented: “The Trust felt that it was appropriate to support Ireland, as host nation for The 2006 Ryder Cup and in view of Junior Golf Ireland’s highly professional structure and strategy for the future of the game in that country. This funding from The Ryder Cup European Development Trust may well be the catalyst in sourcing a new generation of Irish Ryder Cup players.”