The PGAs of Europe Annual Congress, now in it’s 23rd year, has once again proved it’s worth by ensuring over 30 countries’ professional golf bodies are brought together in an environment that looks to aid member PGAs’ development, establish new relationships between countries, and importantly help to strengthen existing relationships.
Day Two of the Congress consisted of the ‘President’s Challenge Golf Day’ hosted at Boavista Golf Club, just a short drive away from the Congress’ host venue, Hotel Vila Galé Lagos.
The second day is designed to mix up the delegates and ensure they get to know those that they are spending time with over the week, as well as adding an element of competition for a group of individuals that all share the same passion for the game.
A rousing performance by the President’s team, this year represented by past-president, Ken Schofield, prevented the trophy from entering the hands of the PGAs of Europe Chairman, Sandy Jones, and his team.
Day three of the Congress was back to business, with the second full day of presentations, workshops and discussion groups, with once again an array of subject matter on the table.
First on stage was Surekha Parekh, Worldwide Marketing & Social Media Program Director for Information Management System z at IBM, discussing the differing channels and platforms within Social Media and how its use can be as effective as possible.
Parekh’s presentation ignited discussion amongst the delegates about the merits of Social Media use, as well as it’s pitfalls and dangers, but consensus from the floor was that with the changing world of communications it was vital they keep up or otherwise they will be left behind.
Next to the stage was General Secretary of the European Golf Association (EGA), Richard Heath, with a nod to Day One’s subject matter, with a presentation on the EGA’s Strategic Plan and how it sees itself evolving over time having this week celebrated their 75th anniversary.
Following a short break was Niall Flanagan, Managing Director of PGAs of Europe Career Services Partners, Club Inc., using his vast experience in sitting on and maintaining boards of directors to provoke discussion as to why an association needs it’s members and those that ensure the continued growth and development of the association.
Flanagan’s presentation also included breakout group work in which delegates worked together to discuss the values and requirements of an effective golf association as well as where they view their own associations being in the future.
After lunch, delegates were treated to a speech from André Jordan, Chairman of the André Jordan group, one of the founding fathers of golf resorts in the Algarve and further afield.
Jordan detailed his experiences in developing these resorts and how his business has evolved, and answered questions from the floor on how golf tourism will evolve in the coming years, as well as about his own approaches in the early stages of his business career and the realisation of his visionary approaches.
A short presentation from PGAs of Europe Director of Education, Tony Bennett, detailed the ways in which companies have previously allowed themselves to fall behind the times and fail to evolve with changes in culture and technology, highlighting the importance for PGAs and their pros in ensuring they stay current and always look ahead to how they can stay relevant.
Closing the penultimate day of the conference was William Swan, from Swan Golf Designs and son of renowned golf course designer, Howard Swan, speaking on his and the company’s passion for the future of golf facilities.
Swan looked into the challenges faced by the industry in terms of growth and participation and then suggested how these might be tackled using concepts based around the adaptation of existing facilities to the modern game, as well as with the development of new facilities that incorporate short course, and differing practice facilities.
Day three culminated in looking ahead to the final day of the Congress that will see performance coach Jamie Edwards present, followed by Ryder Cup legend Tony Jacklin taking part in a Q&S session to close the Congress.
The 2012 Congress is supported by Glenmuir, Associaçäo Turismo do Algarve, Hotel Vila Galé Lagos, Onyria Palmares Beach and Golf Resort, and the European Ryder Cup Development Trust – For more information on our partners, visit http://bit.ly/SkAMWD.