Leading PGA of Italy Member Professional, Donato Di Ponziano, has been awarded the 2017 Christer Lindberg Bowl at the 2017 Annual Congress Gala Awards supported by Rolex, in recognition of his impact on, and services to, European golf.
The Christer Lindberg Bowl is named after the PGAs of Europe’s first Chairman, reflecting the importance and influence of its winners. Di Ponziano’s worthy naming as this year’s recipient acknowledges the role he has played within golf, from grass roots level all the way to top-level elite performers.
“It is a big privilege and I know what it means because it comes from Christer Lindberg who was a very special man,” said Di Ponziano after receiving the award at the 2017 Annual Congress Gala Awards Dinner at Costa Navarino in Greece.
“I don’t know if I deserve it, but what I know for sure is that I have a lot of colleagues in Europe that helped me a lot…so I am very proud of it.”
The Italian has been instrumental in the development of the PGA of Italy and its education programme, ran the Men’s, Women’s and Seniors’ Italian Opens for a number of years and is currently Technical Director of the Performance Centre at ‘Royal Park I Roveri’ in Turin and a TV commentator for Sky Italia.
His influence has not just been limited to Italy, however, having worked extensively for golf in Europe as a PGAs of Europe Board Member for over 20 years. He was then PGAs of Europe Honorary President in 2014-15 recognising his service to the Association and the stature that he has had across the continent.
“At the beginning of my time with the PGAs of Europe, it was not easy,” Di Ponziano added. “Different nationalities, characters, egos – but then golf helped everybody to be what Europe expected – a group of Professionals who worked together to achieve great results. Our role was not to be a genius, but to build bridges between knowledge and the people who don’t have the opportunity to be close to golf.
“I think the world of golf is better than it was before, and the PGAs of Europe has been an important part of my life and I am very thankful to my colleagues from across this time.”
This was also shown with his role as a Ryder Cup Policy Board Member and his work as a Golf Developer in carrying missions much further afield than just Europe.
India has become particularly close to Di Ponziano’s heart having visited many times across 20 years, working to teach a large number of coaches and players and also having helped established the National Golf Academy of India (NGAI).
In 2015, in recognition of his efforts in India, he was given the honour of becoming India’s first ‘Master Teaching Professional’ by the Indian Golf Union (IGU).
He is also hugely well known for his role in developing the first European Teaching & Coaching Conference (TCC) in Milan, Italy, in 1990. The TCCs became a fixture on the PGAs of Europe’s schedule with the hugely successful and ground-breaking events taking place in France, Switzerland Germany, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, with many led by Di Ponziano or featuring him as a speaker.
These TCC events were designed to help standardise and improve the development of educational knowledge and methods among the PGA Professionals across Europe and resulted in thousands of individuals gaining knowledge that at the time was unavailable to them elsewhere.
Di Ponziano’s impact on golf has been wide reaching in various elements of the sport making him a very worthy recipient of the Christer Lindberg Bowl.
For more information on the 2017 Annual Award Winners visit Annual Congress Hub Page (http://eur.pe/2017AnnualCongress), follow @PGAsofEurope on Twitter and search the hashtag ‘#AnnualCongress’ or like the PGAs of Europe Facebook Page.
The Annual Congress Gala Awards are partnered by Rolex, Costa Navarino, the Ryder Cup European Development Trust, BMW and Aegean Airlines, and are supported by The Botanist, The Blue Beetle, Bulldog, G’Vine gins, Marendry apperitivo, and Fever-Tree Premium Natural Mixers.