The 26th Golf Foundation Pro-Am proved an excellent fundraising effort from all involved at London Golf Club on Monday (8th of October). Supporters of junior grass roots golf from the world of business, media and sport came together for the leading golf charity’s annual event to raise around £19,000 on a memorable day.
This fundraising day has a prestige all of its own thanks to The European Tour’s support, which dates back to the first Golf Foundation Pro-Am in 1986. More than £160,000 has been raised during the last eight years to help the Golf Foundation reach children from all backgrounds and abilities through golf.
With strong backing from The European Tour, the Tour players and invited members from the Ladies European Tour led 22 teams in competition on the superbly set up Heritage course at London Golf Club in Kent. Many players present commented on the excellence of the greens and the challenging but exciting Jack Nicklaus layout.
The weather was not so friendly however. Some of the heaviest and coldest rain of the year caused play to be suspended at one point, but remarkable drainage on the course led this stoppage to be only temporary when the rain relented. The competition produced some fine team scoring, which was rewarded by dinner and refreshments in the comfort of the clubhouse restaurant. A well-supported raffle and auction concluded the day.
The winning team, with 87 points in a better-ball stableford, was ‘Team Wembley’ captained by Heath Harvey, who won the prestigious Wickham Shield. They were closely followed by the London Golf Club Members in second place and Tractor Hire in third place.
The European Tour recognises the value of the Golf Foundation’s ‘HSBC Golf Roots’ programmes which aim to reach one million youngsters a year through golf by 2013, working in partnership with the golfing bodies in England, Wales and Scotland. HSBC Golf Roots provides the technical skills of golf but also the ‘Skills for Life’ that golf offers young people.
The European Tour and Golf Foundation are working together to celebrate the legacy of the Foundation’s founding father, and one of the UK’s premier touring golf professionals, Sir Henry Cotton. His passion for golf has been furthered by the Foundation and Tour players in creating eager golfers from diverse backgrounds and abilities.
At the prize-giving, Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “We would like to offer a huge thank you to all the teams who took part and helped us to raise money for an excellent cause. Our team is indebted once again to The European Tour for their great support and experience in staging this event. We received many comments about how much the Tour players enjoyed helping their teams to get around and score well. As a group they couldn’t have been more friendly and supportive to all the guests.
“On a day of bad weather, we cannot praise London Golf Club’s greenkeeping and golf course staff enough for their skill and hard work in maintaining an excellent golf course. Our team would also like to commend London Golf Club General Manager Austen Gravestock and his staff for making everyone feel so welcome.”
During the dinner, Golf Foundation Chairman Charles Harrison talked of how money raised for the Golf Foundation can make a real difference to the lives of young people. He said: “The Golf Foundation helps to introduce children to the technical skills needed to enjoy the game and also teaches them the importance of ‘Skills for Life’, attributes like honesty, respect and co-operation, which can really help them as they develop as people.
“This strategy has had a tremendous effect on golf as a sport in schools and we are creating more and more positive links between our schools and golf clubs going forwards. All this work requires funding of course and days like this and the support we receive really is tremendous, and something we are extremely grateful for.”
This year’s Pro-Am funds will go towards the delivery of Foundation initiatives such as Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme in schools, the provision of the structured learning programme, the Junior Golf Passport, at golf clubs and driving ranges, and the Foundation’s HSBC Golf Roots City Project, which has been taking place in urban areas up and down the country.
Throughout the day, competitors were able to use the Golf GameBook live scoring system on supplied iPhones to record their score, courtesy of Clarion Golf.
The Golf Foundation also made a special thank you to The Tour Players Foundation, which helped in producing exciting items for the auction. Other generous donations of auction items and raffle prizes came from The European Tour, HSBC, Glenmuir, Heath Harvey (Wembley), Titleist, PING Europe, Robert McGuirk, Baxter Prints, Shepherd Neame, Buckinghamshire Golf Club, Wentworth Club and Level4.