Chief Executive: Bernard de Bruyckere
As a long standing CPG member Country PGA, the PGA of Belgium continues to be the leading focal point for golf development and Professional golf in Belgium. The CPG took time to speak to its Chief Executive, Bernard de Bruyckere about the association, its work and goals for the future…
The PGA of Belgium is run by a Board of Directors, supported by a Board of Governors, acting as an advisory board.
The Board of Directors is lead by Chairman Tom Blanckaert, who himself works as a PGA Professional at Ternesse GCC near Antwerp, and the President, Vincent Vroninks. The day-to-day management of the association is operated by Chief Executive Bernard De Bruyckere, supported by Director of Education Anthony Otterström.
Founded in 1988 with an original 47 members, it is a relatively small PGA compared to most but continues to grow and develop its membership base, with just over 200 members currently. This is through industry-leading education programmes, a continuously developing and attractive competitive schedule and various other initiatives to supplement.
One such initiative recently started is a sub-division called the PGA Club Belgium, aimed at those people who have graduated through Level 1 of the education programme. These ‘Initiators’ are able to retain their amateur status whilst continuing to offer support to PGA Professional through group lessons or school projects. The aim is to maximise the support for Professional Golf by offering accessible routes to both current and prospective Professionals alike.
With over 66,000 golfers, the PGA of Belgium naturally plays the key role in development of the game of golf in the country. Alongside its traditional obligations as a Professional Golf Association in the education and development of PGA Professionals (who can then help develop and coach players to reach their potential), the PGA is also responsible for introducing golf at a grass roots level, making the game accessible to new generations of players.
PGA professionals of the future must take active roles in their golf clubs, offering access to all aspects of the sport, to all levels of players. Therefore, in relation to the former of the two key roles, it is a responsibility of the PGA to offer educational programs and playing opportunities that will enable its members to effectively fulfill this role.
Forming a key element of Belgian golf is the development of Professional Golfers at elite level, achieved through a healthy and developing tournament schedule. The PGA recognises its pivotal role in achieving such a goal, and continues to help develop young, talented professional players through better and improved competitive opportunity and coaching.
All of this can only be achieved through successful coordination of the work of the PGA with the efforts of the golf clubs and Federations, both regional and national. It is these key ambitions that drives the PGA of Belgium and its work.
Objectives of the PGA
To summarise, the work of the PGA of Belgium continues to focus around achieving four key objectives:
- Achieving the highest possible quality standards of club and teaching professionals by offering top-level educational programs and appropriate playing opportunities.
- Encouraging the most favourable conditions for further self-development by talented playing professionals.
- Furthering the public’s interest in the sport of golf, promoting the moral and ethical values of the sport and enhancing the image of the PGA Professional.
- From 2020, extending its playing programme with specific group events, including a Ladies-only Pro-Am and a Junior InterClub Pro-Am.
The PGA of Belgium views its relationship with the Confederation of Professional Golf [CPG] as crucial to achieving these objectives. Whether it is international development expertise, or through internationally-recognised standards of education, the collaboration between the two organisations is vital to achieving such objectives and contuse the development of golf in Belgium.