Twelve potential G4D Tour players of the future who will benefit from expert training in the new ‘Player Development Camp’ (PDC) initiative created by EDGA, have been named.
The golfers with a disability coming from 10 countries and four continents were revealed today. They will assemble at Quinta do Lago, Portugal, in January (21-25), 2024, for the first Player Development Camp of its kind, supported by the European Tour Group.
In a planned intense week of learning, professional specialists in their field, including coaches, nutritionists, performance experts and marketeers, will offer training and advice to the promising players, who have all qualified to take part via the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD).
The 12-player group, none of whom have played in a previous G4D Tour or EDGA Professional Tour event, will be made up of the eligible top five players in the Gross Ranking, the leading three eligible women players and four emerging talents.
It is anticipated that the level of assistance offered to the emerging talent pool in this first and subsequent PDCs will only serve to energise further the competitive pathway in G4D (golf for the disabled) created by EDGA over the last decade or so. The international golfers taking part can gain the tools to challenge the leading lights on the already successful G4D Tour, while showing a great many other players in the World Ranking that there is a route to the very top open to those who are dedicated to work on their game and improve.
Launched in 2022 by EDGA and the European Tour Group, the G4D Tour sees golfers with a disability compete on the same course and in the same week as the professionals on the DP World Tour.
The following players will be welcomed by the EDGA team of experts to Quinta do Lago:
Russell Aide (aged 16, Canada), Thomas Colombel (aged 21, France), Heather Gilks (aged 18, England), Casper Holst-Christensen (aged 27, Denmark), Mehmet Kazan (aged 42, Turkey), Tycho Kuiper (aged 14, The Netherlands), Rene Schwenk (aged 24, Germany), Daniel Slabbert (aged 32, South Africa), Natasha Stasiuk (aged 25, Canada), Gustav Stigsson-Andersson (aged 18, Sweden), Natascha Tennent (aged 16, Australia), and Chris Willis (aged 43, Canada).
Invitations were sent out to the leading eligible players in the World Ranking from the 39 EDGA member countries (who had not competed in a previous G4D Tour or EDGA Professional Tour event), and also included highly rated emerging female G4D players and leading young talent.
EDGA President Tony Bennett said: “We are delighted with the cross-section of talented and switched-on players taking part in our first EDGA Player Development Camp from 10 countries, who have all exhibited a thirst to learn and a joy in pushing themselves on. Although the G4D Tour is an understandable draw for players to test themselves over championship golf course set-ups in the exciting weeks of the DP World Tour, the PDC is about helping these players to develop skills to take on any test in golf. The specialists on site and the wonderful facilities at Quinta do Lago, will give the players the opportunity to explore their potential.”
Tony added: “Our work is to make the journey from sampler to competitive golfer seamless. Not everyone wants the same thing from golf, and that is the overall message for an inclusive landscape, which is to provide choice across the player pathway. There has never been greater opportunity for golfers with a disability, but G4D is still young in its development and there is a lot more to come. The PDC is just one of our initiatives that will help the whole player pathway, while we can see the number of golf courses improving their facilities increasing, more professional coaches learning how to better train players with disabilities, and an increase in the number of tournaments available at every level.”
During the PDC week players will have the opportunity to learn from others how to develop their knowledge and skill sets, and how they can use these to add fuel to their career development.
More details of the line-up of specialists who will support the PDC will be revealed soon, as will thoughts and expectations of the players taking part.