As he prepares to start his two-year term as President, Ken Schofield emphatically believes that the PGAs of Europe is in ‘a vibrant period’ of its 17-year history, and looks forward to playing an important ‘figurehead’ role in the association’s further development.
Above all he sees it as a collective duty of all concerned to back the new chief executive, Ian Randell, when he takes up his duties on January 22.
“He’s a young man, but he’s experienced, and has served in a European capacity with the Ladies’ Tour,” said Mr Schofield.
“He’s been involved in Solheim Cups and many other important tournaments and all the responsibility that goes with it. I see vibrant and exciting times ahead … but there will be some hard work for the new chief executive and it is up to the board and myself, where possible, to help and support him.”
Conceding that times are very difficult in terms of attracting new sponsors to support tournaments such as the PGAsE strokeplay championship he saw encouraging signs when in Murcia recently for the International Team Championship, Annual Congress and Awards Dinner.
Although the new president’s professional career in golf was occupied in constantly upgrading the multi-million pound prize-fund for the elite tour players, he is equally intrigued by the opportunity to support the lesser-known club professionals.
‘Same Family of Golf’
“I only see us all as being from the same family of golf, “ he said. “We’re part of one Europe and this association has played an increasingly important role in its development, right from when it began.
“I saw the need for such a body from the very start and I’ve seen it emerge to do a number of vital things, none more important than that of uniting professional golfers across the continent.”
Education, above all of the PGAsE’s functions, has been a considerable success story.
“My mentor, John Jacobs, has told me that he has seen the standard of coaching across Europe come on in leaps and bounds and this progress could be said to have run concurrently with the development of the PGAs of Europe,” he added.
“When Sandy Jones approached me with the offer of becoming President I accepted instantly, largely because I place him, and the rest of the Board, in much the same category as Neil Coles and the directors of the European Tour, as men with whom it’s a privilege to work. I will support them in every way I can".
“Since then, when in Munich (for Golf Europe) and in Murcia,I found it inspirational that so many nations are coming through, including those from Eastern Europe and, indeed, from outside of Europe.”
Another crucial function he sees as having been successfully undertaken by the PGAsE is that of the Ryder Cup European Development Trust, the fund that administers income from the staging of the Matches and disperses it via grants to fund grass roots development schemes throughout the membership and beyond.