The PGA has ensured it will benefit from the extensive experience and knowledge Sandy Jones has acquired as its chief executive by offering him a role when he retires.
Jones, who will be succeeded by Robert Maxfield following The PGA’s annual general meeting at the end of March, has been appointed executive president and will still be retained by the Association, albeit on a reduced basis.
As president of the Golf Foundation, chairman of the PGAs of Europe and The Ryder Cup Trust, Jones always planned to remain involved with the sport.
This latest appointment, however, adds up to an even busier retirement and Jones said: “I see this as an ambassadorial role and I am delighted to be asked.
“I will remain a Trustee of The PGA Benevolent Fund, supporting the fund raising in particular through The PGA Annual Lunches which are a major source of revenue to the fund.
“Another responsibility will be assisting in the looking after of our Heritage Collection which has great value in the world of golf. It is our intention to create a virtual Heritage room so that the collection can be viewed around the world and I look forward to working on this project very shortly.
“I will be available to Rob as and when he feels I can be of assistance and certainly in and around Ryder Cup matters.”
The position will see Jones extending an association with The PGA which began in 1980 when he was appointed Scottish region secretary. During the decade he was there, Jones quadrupled the Tartan Tour’s prize money to just shy of £1m and developed the growth of The PGA in Scotland.
He became chief executive in December 1991 and during the subsequent 25 years The PGA has played a significant role in the development of the game, not just in Great Britain and Ireland but around the world.
That is borne out by more than 1,400 of its almost 8,000 Members working in 79 countries worldwide.
His initiative saw the creation at The Belfry of what has become The PGA National Training Academy and European Centre of Excellence for Golf.
This, in conjunction with the University of Birmingham, now offers a foundation degree in Professional Golf Studies and an honours degree in Applied Golf Management Studies.
In addition, a partnership with the University of Highlands & Islands offers an honours degree in Professional Golf and a diploma in Higher Education in Professional Golf.
More recently, a diploma in Golf Club Management in partnership with the Golf Course Managers’ Association (GCMA) and British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) was created.
The PGA National Training Academy also serves as the hub for the ongoing professional development programme offering vocational education opportunities for all PGA Professionals.
PGA golf education is widely acknowledged as the best in the world and during Jones’ time as chief executive thousands of students have graduated. This number includes students from China, India, the Middle East, Far East and most European countries as well as Great Britain and Ireland.
It’s no surprise that in 2009 Jones was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Birmingham for outstanding services to sport and golf.
The PGA is the founding partner of the Ryder Cup and, as a board member, he played a pivotal role in developing it into one of the largest sporting events in the world, introducing a charitable arm enabling revenues from the Ryder Cup to develop the game.
His initiative to form the PGA World Alliance, made up of the major PGAs is another great example of the influence he has had on the game.
Closer to home, Jones has raised the profile of The PGA and its Members during his 25 years as chief executive. He has also developed The PGA brand and the Association has become one of the most highly respected organisations in sport.
Through his vision two Ryder Cup venues, Gleneagles and The Belfry, have championship courses bearing The PGA Brand. The PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles was the venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup match.
It all adds up to a wealth of experience and PGA chairman
David Murchie said: “Sandy has dedicated most of his working life to The PGA and its Members.
“As chief executive he has taken the Association forward in every aspect of the business and has enhanced its reputation and standing across the golfing world.
“We’re delighted he has accepted the invitation to become our executive president and we will still be able to call on his expertise and experience.”
Maxfield echoed those sentiments and added: “During his time at The PGA Sandy has achieved many things.
“As the incoming chief executive I am extremely fortunate I will be taking over the leadership of an Association that is respected the world over thanks to Sandy’s vision, dedication and hard work.
“I am pleased I will still be able to draw on Sandy’s experience as he takes on his new position.”