The 25th Golf Foundation Pro-Am was celebrated in style with an excellent fundraising effort from all involved. Supporters of junior grass roots golf from the world of business, media and sport made the leading golf charity’s anniversary event, held at Buckinghamshire Golf Club on 10th October, a day to remember.
With strong backing from The European Tour, the Tour players and invited members from the Ladies European Tour led 20 teams in competition on a superbly set up golf course in challenging windy conditions. Later, generosity from all involved in a raffle and auction led to over £20,000 being raised for the Golf Foundation on the day.
This fundraising event has a prestige all of its own thanks to The European Tour’s support, which dates back to the first Golf Foundation Pro-Am in 1986.
The European Tour recognises the value of the Golf Foundation’s ‘HSBC Golf Roots’ programmes which aim to reach one million youngsters a year through golf by 2013, working in partnership with the golfing bodies in England, Wales and Scotland. HSBC Golf Roots provides the technical skills of golf but also the ‘Skills for Life’ that golf offers young people.
The European Tour and Golf Foundation are working together to celebrate the legacy of the Foundation’s founding father, and one of the UK’s premier touring golf professionals, Sir Henry Cotton. His passion for golf has been furthered by the Foundation and Tour players in creating eager golfers from diverse backgrounds and abilities.
Favourites from The European Tour, European Senior and European Challenge Tours helped the amateur teams, including Neil Coles, Paul Way, Richard Bland, Phil Golding, Scott Drummond, Ian Mosey, Kevin Spurgeon, Delroy Cambridge and Jamie Little. Kirsty Taylor and Sam Head, both HSBC Golf Roots Ambassadors, represented the Ladies European Tour with excellent performances.
For the 25th anniversary edition, all present were delighted to welcome back Hugh Wickham, formerly of The European Tour and now retired, and the driving force behind the growth of this highly popular Pro-Am. The ‘Wickham Shield’ for the winning team is named in his honour.
In his opening remarks at the prize giving, Charles Harrison, Chairman of the Golf Foundation, praised The European Tour for its continued support over 25 years, and thanked all present for the enthusiasm they had shown for the Foundation, which has taken golf into an ever-growing number of schools and linked many of those schools to golf clubs.
Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “We promise that we will spend the money raised wisely to encourage more youngsters into golf, so a big thank you to The European Tour, to Director of Golf at Buckinghamshire Golf Club John O’Leary and his excellent staff, but most importantly to all the golfers playing today.”
The winning team was Genworth, which won the Wickham Shield with an excellent score of 94 points, led with consummate skill by their professional for the day, Jamie Little. In second place was the J.C. O’Shea team, and in third was the Gee Force team.
Pro-Am competitors donated around £8,000 in a raffle and auction. Prizes were provided by friends of the Golf Foundation.
Revenue raising opportunities like the Pro-Am remain vital for the Golf Foundation. This year’s funds will go towards the delivery of Foundation initiatives such as Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme in schools, the provision of the structured learning programme, the Junior Golf Passport, at golf clubs and driving ranges, and the Foundation’s HSBC Golf Roots City Project, which has been taking place in urban areas up and down the country.
The Golf Foundation thanked companies providing prizes for the Pro-Am, including Moët Hennessy, Puig, Level 4, Motocaddy, Titleist, Srixon, TaylorMade and Buckinghamshire Golf Club.
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org
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PICTURE CAPTION: Golf Foundation Chairman Charles Harrison (left) presents Golf Monthly Editor Mike Harris with the prize for ‘nearest the flag’ at the testing 9th hole at Buckinghamshire GC