The restructuring of the Ryder Cup in 2004 saw the creation of the Ryder Cup European Development Trust (RCEDT), a charity which ensures that a proportion of the profits from the Matches are distributed to grass-roots golf programmes throughout Europe.
As a result, a total figure of some €2.5m was available after the matches at the K Club in 2006 and, since then, funding has now been granted to projects of varying size in seven countries.
The RCEDT has supported a number of development programmes that have also been backed by The R&A. Initiatives which support junior golf in Bulgaria and Ireland have been beneficiaries, as have projects led by past Open Champions Nick Faldo and Paul Lawrie. The Faldo Series Russia Championship recently received RCEDT support, as did the Paul Lawrie Foundation, which now receives an annual sum of £7,500 to encourage junior golf in the north-east of Scotland.
Duncan Weir, The R&A’s Director of Golf Development, sits on the board of the Trust along with others including Ian Randell, the Chief Executive of the PGAs of Europe, and Ken Brown, the BBC presenter and five-time Ryder Cup player.
Weir said: “The Trust is in a strong position to help golf’s growth throughout Europe and has already made an impact in several countries in a short space of time.”
The RCEDT has also funded golf development activities at European Tour events this season, providing free ten minute lessons from local professionals. More than 500 free golf lessons were given at each of the Portuguese Open, the Spanish Open, the Italian Open, the French Open, the SAS Masters, the KLM Open, the Mercedes-Benz Championship and the Austrian Open.
Some of the RCEDT’s projects to date www.pgae.com/rcedt_projects.php