PGA Leaders and Professionals from 28 Member Countries of the PGAs of Europe joined together last week for the 2017 Annual Congress & International Team Championship (ITC) at Costa Navarino in Greece, raising the bar once again for the Association’s flagship event.
The first staging of the events at Costa Navarino in the heart of Greece’s Messinia region proved to be hailed as the best yet by Annual Congress delegates and ITC competitors, with a varied and engaging programme of events, outstanding levels of hospitality, service and cuisine, and world class golf courses enjoyed in excellent weather.
Congress sessions included a wide range of speakers and subject matter, ensuring a strong mix of presentations, discussions and forums, breakout sessions and workshops within each day to keep delegates’ creative juices flowing.
Along with various updates around the PGAs of Europe’s own activities and progress, sessions looked to grow and develop delegate’s own personal and professional activities.
With sessions on golf, personal and member development, speakers focused on areas such as the relationships between national PGAs and Federations, initiatives to grow the game and provision of mentoring and consulting services through the PGAs of Europe Golf Development Team to assist national collaboration with international guidance.
The European Education Level System (EELS), volunteer coaching, women’s golf development with Alastair Spink (PGA of GB&I) of Love.Golf, and academic qualifications available to PGA Professionals added further breadth of subject matter for delegates.
A highlight from the sessions was Thomas International’s Mark Brooks delivering an extensive workshop that shone a light on to attendee’s own working and personal styles, characteristics and behaviours and how this can affect their work with the respective PGAs and organisations.
Mid-way through the week Costa Navarino’s own wellness team delivered a golf stretching session aimed at reinvigorating the delegates and teaching them simple, yet effective exercises that they can use not only for golf but in everyday work and life.
They each then had the opportunity to trial Interleague.golf on The Dunes Course short game area enabling them to trial a new initiative from the PGAs of Europe and GSA Golfsports in the beautiful surrounding environment, followed up by an overview of the successful Golf Foundation and European Tour-led Golf Sixes Academy.
Delegates were also able to sample The Bay Course at Costa Navarino designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. in the President’s Challenge Golf where each were assigned to either the President’s or Chairman’s team and played competitive, but friendly matchplay matches to provide networking opportunities and ensure a balanced time both in and out of the conference room.
The week also included a joint education event with ITC Competitors for the first time with Jamie Gough, PGA of South Africa Professional and coach to players such as Hao Tong Li and Andy Sullivan. The renowned tour coach took part in a Q&A session with PGAs of Europe Education Committee Chairman and friend to Gough, Jonathan Mannie, giving attendees the chance to engage in a thought-provoking and enlightening evening session.
Running simultaneously to the Annual Congress, the 2017 ITC was played out over The Dunes Course at Costa Navarino and saw eventual winners, the PGA in Ireland, race to victory by an incredible 16 shots over the PGA in Scotland and PGA in Holland Teams.
Teams representing PGAs with 100 members or fewer also competed within the ITC event for the International Team Shield, with home country, the PGA of Greece, coming out on top for their first Team Shield win and a notable sixth place finish overall.
The week culminated with the presenting of six Annual Awards at the Gala Dinner Supported by Rolex, which celebrated individuals and organisations deserving of recognition for their work in the sport.
The Congress & ITC events received fantastic support from across the Association’s Corporate Partner family and from further afield. Along with Costa Navarino’s incredible hosting of the week, BMW provided transfer services and test-drives of the latest electric models as Official Vehicle, whilst Aegean Airlines, in their capacity as Official Airline Partner to the events, provided preferential rates to all delegates and competitors, along with invaluable support before and during the week.
The Ryder Cup European Development Trust continued to support the Annual Congress, aiding the facilitation of the week and ensuring the Association’s Member Countries can share knowledge, resources, and experience within the network.
Supporting Partners, The Botanist, The Blue Beetle, Bulldog, and G’Vine gins, together with Fever-Tree Premium Natural Mixers, supported the Welcome Reception with a fantastic gin tasting evening, whilst Marendry apperitivo, provided the pre-Gala Dinner cocktail reception.
The Annual Congress & ITC are partnered by 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.
For updates, information and news visit the 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.
For more information on the 2017 International Team Championship, visit the ITC Tournament Hub Page (http://eur.pe/2017ITC).