An elite group of vastly experienced PGA Professionals joined together with representatives from The R&A and the PGAs of Europe at Pannónia Golf & Country Club in Hungary for a ‘Golf Developer Meeting’ to delve further into The R&A ‘Working for Golf’ Programme that has had a worldwide impact on golf across more than 20 years.
The meeting enabled members of the PGAs of Europe’s Golf Developer Team to join together to share their experiences from previous trips, exploring the intricacies of their missions to develop the sport, and the many stories from their visits around the globe.
The meeting also provided insight into the technicalities and processes involved in the ‘Working for Golf’ Programme, including pre-, during, and post- trip activities and requirements, such as the developer’s preparation ahead of the trip and the reporting and feedback elements of a visit once they return home afterwards.
“The meeting is something that we’ve talked about for a number of years but we’ve never managed to get everyone together before,” said Assistant Director of Golf Development for The R&A, Alison White.
“We were keen to talk through the nuts and bolts of each operation – how we select the Professionals, what they do when they get to a certain country. It was fun and interesting for all of the Professionals to hear that they all have the same problems and opportunities when they get to different countries…I was delighted to see that everyone thought that going on these missions was very special, and that it is worthwhile from The R&A’s point of view to put money into this type of work.”
“Since the early days we have seen the work of the Golf Developer group accelerate and we are now involved in much more than just coaching,” said PGAs of Europe Director of Education & Membership, Tony Bennett.
“We have 24 highly skilled and well qualified PGA professionals who we can call on to deliver golf development work and they have a wide range of competences from which we can select the most appropriate professional. Typically they exhibit a thirst for knowledge and learning, are or have been, involved in coach education, are very adaptable and able to think on their feet. Our team is equally at home working with players on the range, training coaches, consulting with national governing bodies, or meeting with governmental officials. It really is a privilege to work with such a good group of professionals.”
The meeting coincided with the European Golf Association’s European Team Shield for emerging nations, an event that is supported by The R&A and in itself is the venue for a ‘Working for Golf’ mission with four PGA Professionals supporting and mentoring the team coaches and players for the duration of the tournament.
The ‘Working for Golf’ Programme is just one of the ways in which The R&A supports the growth of golf around the world using funds generated each year by the Open Championship.
PGA Professionals and experts in relevant fields have been sent around the world over the last two decades with recent missions heading to India, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Madagascar, Latvia and Poland. The PGAs of Europe act as the service provider for The R&A’s developmental work ensuring Professionals with the required skill sets and expertise are sent to be of maximum benefit to that country’s development.
“I thought it was great for us Professionals to hear how The R&A awarded trips, and interesting to hear that what I had been doing on these visits was pretty much what I should have been doing,” said PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Professional, Sarah Claridge.
PGA of France Professional Stéphane Bachoz added, “It was very exciting to listen to my colleagues and peers about their stories from different countries and cultures, and was great to share with them and be part of it.”
“We shared experiences so we can learn from each one of us about what is working in Argentina, what works in India, or what works in Malaysia,” said the PGA of Spain’s Jesús Rodriguez. “Now it makes things easier and we understand the mission and goal and how things work.”