Golf Development visit to Ukraine
Golf in Ukraine has come a long way since its first course was opened just four years ago in 2007. The country now has four courses; schools are using the Start New At Golf (SNAG) equipment to aid young children in taking up the game; golf academies are planned for major cities throughout the country; the newly crowned Ukrainian Club champions will be taking part in the European Golf Association’s Club Trophy in Turkey in October; and Ukraine will enter players for the Junior Open run by The R&A at Fairhaven next July.
When the General Secretary of the Ukrainian Golf Federation, Sergey Kozyrenko, attended the Tournament Administrators and Referees School run by The R&A in February, he met with Director of Golf Development Duncan Weir who agreed to visit this newly-fledged golfing country to see where help could be given in the further development of the game.
Weir watched an amateur event in Kiev where 60 golfers with handicaps ranging from 3 to 30 competed for the title, which was eventually won by a team from Superior Golf Club. Duncan Weir helped present the prizes and spoke of the opportunities for future development. He also gave a lengthy interview for a golf magazine on the role of The R&A in using profits from The Open Championship to help the growth of the game throughout the world.
He met with Nick Solski, a professional from Manchester, who has previously worked in Lithuania and is currently coaching in Ukraine, and visited two schools to see juniors taking their first steps in the game.
There were discussions with Oleg Korban, President of the Ukrainian Golf Federation and with Olympic gold medal winner, the pole-vaulter Sergiy Bubka, who is president of the country’s National Olympic Committee. Also involved in the talks on the development of the sport was Dmitriy Khristich, a keen golfer and former ice-hockey player who made over 800 appearances in the NHL.
“It was fascinating to visit a country with no golfing history, but such tremendous potential,” said Weir. “There is a population of 46 million and a strong sporting and Olympic culture and what they have achieved so far in golf is excellent. There is obviously a lot more to come.”