Ryder Cup raises over 2.2 million euros for grassroots projects

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The success of The Ryder Cup can be seen clearly in the record books, but off the course, the biennial event between Europe and the United States can also be measured in terms of its important as a vehicle to develop and grow the game across Europe and, indeed, the world.

Thanks to The Ryder Cup Development Trust, set up in 2004, in excess of 2.2 million euros has been raised on the back of the event's success and earmarked for investment into grassroots golfing projects across the Continent of Europe.

The Trust, of which past European Tour champions, Ken Brown and Ove Sellberg are Trustees, has helped introduce the game to thousands of golfers of all ages and abilities and, to date, funds have been invested in various projects in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Poland. Further applications on a wide variety of schemes having been received from another 13 countries.

Bernhard Langer, the winning 2004 European Ryder Cup Captain, set the ball rolling in 2005 with the presentation of 40,000 euros to the German Children's Aid Foundation Direct to buy special equipment for disabled children.

Junior Golf Ireland has been another to prosper following the Trust's involvement with 150,000 euros ploughed in over three years to oversee the development of golf across the Emerald Isle. This has contributed to the setting up of 135 coaching centres in 30 counties across Ireland and also the training of teachers in 149 schools.

In the fledgling golf environment of the Czech Republic, ambitious plans to support junior programmes in 10 clubs were successfully implemented and this has now been extended to 16 clubs with more than 800 children involved.

Other schemes have seen youngsters across Bulgaria introduced to the game thanks to the support of the Trust with nearly 2,000 six to 14-year-olds given coaching. Italy has also enjoyed success with funding made available for the country's first ever public training course for coaches.

Poland, a country which will host events on the European Seniors Tour and Challenge Tour in 2008, has also benefited with 10,000 euros set aside for the training of coaches to encourage the growth of the game in eastern Europe.

In England, money for the Kevin Duggan Golf Academy at Stockwood Park has been a major success helping disadvantaged and under-privileged children in and around Luton get access to the sport.

John Yapp, Group Finance Director of the Professional Golfers' Association and Secretary of the Trust, said: "The idea of the Trust is to invest significant funding in promoting participation in golf and to reap the related health benefits.

"It's an exciting venture and to date we've had applications from more than 20 countries and look forward to receiving many more. We're grateful for the continued support given by The European Tour and The R&A and the on-going resource of the PGAs of Europe to help seek out and monitor projects which are relevant to Trust objectives."

Any potential applications or ideas for projects can be made direct to the PGA at rctrust@pga.org.uk or by calling Emma Hadlow at 0044 1675 470333. Alternatively enquiries can be made via PGAs of Europe Ltd at info@pgae.com or calling Ian Randell on the same number.