Centre stage for girls at Golf Foundation Pro-AmThe 32nd Golf Foundation Pro-Am boosted this charity’s profile but also proved to be a celebration of growing girls’ golf, a much-discussed need for the golf industry in present times.
Picture: The winning team of 'Vinnies' presented with the Wickham Shield by Foundation chairman Stephen Lewis (right)
Thanks to the support from the European Tour Foundation, the Golf Foundation was able to stage its major annual Pro-Am fixture at London Golf Club, Kent, a European Tour Destination, for another year. The European Tour provided players from the European Tour, European Challenge Tour, and Staysure Tour to support the teams of amateurs for the event and guide them around the superbly set up Heritage course.
Just as last year’s Pro-Am had a specific fundraising element (helping more youngsters with disability to learn golf), this time the focus was on Golf Foundation initiatives in girls’ golf, which has been a key aim for the charity alongside its national partners; fitting also this year as Foundation supporter The R&A released the Women in Golf Charter in the summer.
Thanks to the generosity of all the amateur players taking part at London Golf Club, plus company and brand supporters, a nett figure of more than £13,000 was raised through competition, a lively auction and fun side-challenges.
Golf Foundation Chairman Stephen Lewis said: “As a national charity that is helping to transform the junior game we rely on the backing of so many golf lovers. All the amateur golfers who played, and the organisations which have shown support, should be very proud of their fabulous generosity. Every penny will be spent wisely and their contribution is greatly valued.
“We would like to thank all the professional players who were all brilliant, the great team at London Golf Club and of course the European Tour Foundation who made the whole day possible for us.”
The Golf Foundation Pro-Am enjoyed an additional genuine highlight, as this year the Ladies European Tour kindly provided four players from the LET ranks to enhance the girls’ golf theme. Felicity Johnson, Liz Young, Sophie Walker and Hannah Burke received special praise from Golf Foundation Chief Executive Brendon Pyle for their enthusiasm and goodwill, but also for the perspective and experience they were able to share which can help the Foundation’s approach to girls’ golf going forwards.
Picture: Foundation Chief Executive Brendon Pyle with Felicity Johnson, Liz Young, Sophie Walker & Hannah Burke
The Golf Foundation already has a key focus on helping to increase the number of young female golfers, encouraging all school, community and club projects to welcome more girls (including the charity’s successful ‘GolfSixes League’ initiative with England Golf which features 125 clubs), to specific initiatives: for example delivering golf with regional Girl Guide and Brownie groups and supporting the further growth of the thriving Girls Golf Rocks project which has included 21 counties this year.
The winning team on the day was ‘Vinnies’ on 94 points (including a Pro-Am record round of 61 from Tour pro James Heath); second place was ‘Dynamo Silver’ with 91, beating third placed European Tour Properties on a count back. ‘Longest drive’ was by big-hitting Kevin Cawston, while ‘nearest-the-pin’ was the excellent auctioneer Adger Brown.
Meanwhile, other members of the Golf Foundation team were able to chat through with guests the charity’s HSBC Golf Roots ‘Golf for All’ message, a programme which reaches 500,000 young people in schools and the community each year. All of this work is underpinned by strong ‘Skills for Life’ values that help young people to develop positive attributes on and off the course as they grow up.
The Golf Foundation wishes to thank all those companies and organisations which have shown their support for the Pro-Am, including donating auction items, prizes and sponsorships. These include the European Tour Foundation, HSBC, London Golf Club, Women & Golf magazine, Moet & Chandon, Titleist, Glenmuir, The Groucho Club, Buckinghamshire Golf Club, Ryder Cup Europe, Tractor Hire, Woburn Golf Club, Peter Millar, Rob McGuirk, Shot Scope, Mouton Cadet, Princes Golf Club, and everyone else who kindly donated prizes.