Virgin Atlantic will again partner the PGA South Region and their Order of Merit, which now comprises eight tournaments. The new stroke play event is the Worthing Audi sponsored PGA Sussex Masters, played over the Colt-designed Worthing championship course in May. Thanks to sponsor The Crown Inn at Chiddingfold, The Keith MacDonald Match Play joins the Virgin Atlantic PGA South Region Order of Merit to make an exciting series of eight top tournaments.
The top three in the Order of Merit at the concluding PGA Southern Professionals Championship at Dale Hill Golf & Hotel will qualify to represent the South Region in the end of season PGA Playoffs, a stepping stone to the Challenge and European Tours. Reinforcing their return to premier status are the popular PGA Surrey Open at its new home of Gatton Manor, and the PGA Kent Open at Prince’s, the famous links and Open qualifier. The Wildwood Invitational is now in early September, a move that promises top course conditions.
Two overseas trips, the Golf Escapes Turkey Pro Am in Belek and The Golf College Challenge at top Spanish course Bonmont near Barcelona, make the ideal preparation for those PGA South Region Professionals tackling an increased number of Pro-Am tournaments in 2011. Betchworth Park and Coombe Hill both celebrate their centenaries with Pro-Ams and three new ones will take place at Littlehampton, Copthorne and Stoneham.
The Stoke Park Pro-Am also joins the PGA South Region’s schedule and will be run in aid of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The 27 hole event’s prize format will motivate PGA Professionals to go for every shot as every hole will offer players rewards. Charity does not end there; the Seve Ballesteros Foundation Pro Am at Foxhills club and Resort is aiming to surpass the £60,000 raised last year.
Sam Smith, newly appointed PGA South Region Secretary, has high hopes for 2011: “The PGA South Region’s 2011 schedule has a great combination of tournaments at top quality venues across the South for the aspiring and seasoned competitors alike to compete against each other. The attractive spread of Pro Ams and Corporate events includes many of the Region’s top 100 golf courses. We think it will appeal to all, from those aiming for the European Tour, the Club PGA Pro who wants to keep their hand in, and Trainees venturing into professional golf.”
“The bigger picture is very encouraging. The PGA South Region Order of Merit tournaments and Pro-Ams are a proven and highly attractive form of promotion and entertainment for local businesses and national organisations, and the high standards set by the PGA Professionals have much to do with our schedule’s resilience to the current economic climate. Organisers and their guests have been impressed with both the quality, professionalism and enjoyment of the days laid on by the PGA, and the PGA South Region is looking forward to helping and supporting many more in 2011.”
The full PGA South Region schedule can be found via the Tournament Information Centre link on the PGA South Region page of the PGA website – www.pga.info/PGARegions/40868054.htm.