As part of an ongoing Ryder Cup European Development Trust [RCEDT] project focus, various programmes and golf development ‘developments’ are reviewed, to find out what the project was, what it aimed to do, and how RCEDT support helped them achieve such goals…
1) What is the Golf Roving Pro Programme?
Only 49% of affiliated clubs in Scotland have a resident PGA Professional and so access to professional coaching has historically been limited at the other 51% of clubs. In 2012, with the support of the RCEDT, ClubGolf Scotland embarked on an innovative funding scheme called the Roving Pro Fund.
This Coaching Delivery fund paid for PGA Professionals to deliver coaching at clubs delivering junior activities where access to a suitably qualified coach was lacking. This would give access to beginners and other golfers to better quality coaching, which in turn would help them improve, enjoy the game and ultimately continue playing.
In 2014, the scheme was expanded to accommodate Get into Golf and in 2015, a new model for delivering the scheme was introduced. This new model aimed to encourage clubs to adopt a more sustainable long-term approach by involving volunteers. It would benefit these volunteer coaches by enabling them to shadow the PGA Professionals enlisted on the Roving Pro Programme and learn key coaching skills from them – this would in turn enable them to continue the coaching thereafter for a more sustainable, long-term approach in the absence of these PGA Professionals.
2) How successful has it been?
Continuing on from previous years, the Roving Pro fund has proved a hugely successful project in Scotland and has made significant impact in not only engaging more participants (adult beginners) in golf but also in retaining juniors in the game, through quality coaching delivery. Clubs and PGA Professionals have been successfully linked together and with the adoption of this new model, have mutually agreeable and more crucially, sustainable business models in place.
Scottish Golf have continued the programme indefinitely due to its significant impact on the game in Scotland. There has been a huge engagement from the clubs that were targeted, and it generated significant demand amongst golfers to use as a coaching resource. The far out-reaching essence of this programme also meant clubs located on the Scottish Isles, which suffer from geographical isolation in comparison to most other facilities, could benefit hugely from the programme as well.
3) How did the RCEDT support influence/effect the success of the project/activity’s work.
The Trust offered the programme initial support for three years, which really enabled it to get off the ground and running and offer its initial package of coaching support. After a successful start, Scottish Golf then created a new proposal to continue the Trust’s support for another three years, which it achieved. Not only did this cement the gains that had been made in the first term, but it established the programme into a sustainable and achievable long-term project for developing golf in Scotland.
4) Why is the RCEDT such an important initiative for golf in general, and the development of the game across Europe?
As a result of this programme, Scottish Golf have had interest from a number of other European countries, who have seen the success of the Golf Roving Pro Programme and have wanted to try their own ‘versions’ of it. By offering advice and learning, Scottish Golf have inadvertently created a knock-on effect for creating similar programmes across the continent – albeit without direct support from the Trust – but nonetheless, the indirect impact the Trust has had with this particular project has therefore been far more wide-reaching than just in Scotland.
The legacy left from various programmes supported by the Trust continues to be further exemplified…this time in Scotland.