• R&A bursaries a career boost for SA women in golf

    Ivano Ficalbi
    Ivano Ficalbi

    The golf industry in South Africa is slowly recovering from the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic, but luckily every cloud has a silver lining – the PGA of South Africa has received exciting news for three women looking to start a career in golf.

    Ivano Ficalbi, CEO of the PGA of South Africa, on Monday announced that the R&A granted bursaries for three female candidates to study and complete the Pathway to Membership Program.

    ‘The R&A invests more than R100 billion in golf worldwide each year and this includes grassroots initiatives, coaching, public facilities, equipment profession, professional golf, amateur events and student golf,’ said Ficalbi in a news release.

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    ‘Over the years, the PGA of South Africa has built a strong working relationship with the R&A Working for Golf team through ongoing projects within Africa. In 2018, the R&A also launched the Women in Golf Charter with the aim to inspire a global industry-wide commitment to developing a more inclusive culture within golf around the world.

    ‘This charter aligns itself with the transformational policies of all the major role players within the South African golf industry, including the PGA of South Africa. We currently have 43 qualified Women PGA Professional members and another 12 are presently in the Pathway to Membership programme.

    ‘Earlier this year, we collaborated with GolfRSA/Women’s Golf South Africa and the Women’s Professional Golf Association South Africa [WPGA] and submitted a proposal to the R&A around the growth of Women PGA Professionals from disadvantaged backgrounds. We are grateful and very excited by their acceptance. The resulting bursaries will contribute to a career in the sport for the three successful candidates, and the growth of the game among women in South Africa.’

    The PGA of South Africa Pathway to Membership is a three-year programme consisting of an inspirational and instructive academic lineup.

    GolfRSA CEO and South African Golf Development Board chief executive Grant Hepburn welcomed the support from the R&A.

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    GolfRSA – through Women’s Golf South Africa and the South African Golf Development Board – is committed to growing the game among women, girls and families,’ he said.

     ‘The transformation of the sport and industry remains a top priority and Women’s Golf South Africa is always looking at new initiatives to encourage more women and girls to take up the game and to stay within the sport, either as members of clubs, as touring professionals, or by following a career path in golf.’

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