As the race for places in Nick Faldo’s team hots up over the coming months, the Ryder Cup can already point to several winners this year without a shot being hit in anger. Over the past four years, upwards of €2.2m, raised on the back of the biennial contest’s success has been earmarked for investment into grassroots golfing projects across Europe.
The Ryder Cup European Development Trust, set up in 2004 to support the development of golf across the continent, has already helped introduce the game to thousands of golfers of all ages and abilities.
To date funds have been invested in various projects in Germany, Ireland, England, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Italy and Poland with further applications on a wide variety of schemes from another 13 countries.
Former Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer set the ball rolling back in 2005 with the presentation of €40,000 to the German Children’s Aid Foundation Direct to buy special equipment for disabled children.
Junior Golf Ireland has been another to prosper following the Trust’s involvement with €150,000 ploughed in over three years to oversee the development of golf across the country.
This has contributed to the setting up of 135 coaching centres in 30 counties across Ireland and also the training of teachers in 149 schools.
In the fledgling golf environment of Czech Republic, ambitious plans to support junior programmes in 10 clubs were successfully implemented and this has now been extended to 16 clubs with more than 800 children involved.
Other schemes have seen youngsters across Bulgaria introduced to the game thanks to the support of the Trust with nearly 2,000 six to 14-year-olds given coaching.
Italy has also enjoyed success with funding made available for the country’s first ever public training golf course for golf coaches.
Back in England, money for the Kevin Duggan Golf Academy at Stockwood Park has been a major success helping disadvantaged and under-privileged children in and around Luton get access to the sport.
Poland has also benefited with €10,000 set aside for the training of coaches in order to try and grow the game in eastern Europe.
The man charged with managing the Trust from his Belfry headquarters is PGA group finance director John Yapp who is secretary to the fund Trustees.
“The idea of the Trust is to invest significant funding in promoting participation in golf and to reap the related health benefits,” said Yapp. “It’s an exciting venture and to date we‘ve had applications from more than 20 countries and look forward to receiving many more.
“We‘re grateful for the continued support given by the European Tour and the R&A and the on-going resource of the PGAs of Europe to help seek out and monitor projects which are relevant to Trust objectives.”
Any potential applications or ideas for projects can be made direct to the PGA at email@example.com or by calling Emma Hadlow at 01675 470 333.
Alternatively enquiries can be made via PGAs of Europe Ltd at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling Ian Randell on the same number.
PGAs of Europe www.pgae.com