Acknowledging the substantial efforts in supporting young golfers that have been displaced by the war in Ukraine, ‘Project Ukraine’ has been awarded the CPG’s 2022 President’s Award for Golf Development at the CPG Annual Awards Supported By Rolex.
The Project has so far delivered on its first aim of bringing players in the Ukrainian Golf Federation’s development pathway back together after being separated across the continent for a development camp in late 2022.
The next step, which is already underway, is the raising of funds for those players in the National programme looking ahead to their post-secondary education opportunities with scholarships that will fund this education.
Project Ukraine was created by an international group of female leaders from The R&A’s Women in Golf Leadership Development Programme – Molly Bullard (Excel Sports Management); Toni Zverblis (England Golf); Joelle Efford (Golf Canada Foundation); Lauren Witherspoon (The R&A); Zoe Thacker (Wales Golf); Emma Corless (Golfbreaks); Polly Clark (Ladies European Tour); Magdalena Villar (Peruvian Golf Federation); and Veronika Rastvortseva (formerly Ukraine Golf Federation) – wishing to provide support the Ukrainian member of the group, Rastvortseva, and her Ukrainian friends and colleagues.
“Words fail me – getting this award, it means a lot for my country, for myself and for my team,” said Rastvortseva who collected the award on behalf of the project at the Gala Awards Dinner at Costa Navarino in Greece. “Everyone invested massive effort towards the camp and towards the support of Ukraine. So I would like to thank all the girls that are part of the initiative, The R&A, Jackie Davidson and mentors, Alison Townson and Jenny Denyer.
“Seeing what was happening in Ukraine at the time, I realised we might be losing golfers because everyone was trying to escape…so it was critical to bring these kids together. My biggest worry was that they were not thinking about dreams….or about normal teenager things…they were always thinking about war.
“We managed to organise the camp so they could get some training, have fun, and help them with their emotional well-being, and it was a huge success. We changed lives – and that’s what we keep hearing from all the players that participated. We really hope to extend the project to more families and juniors, and support more juniors with education.”
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, more than 6.8 million people have fled the country and a third of the population have been displaced. PGA of Ukraine Professionals, Federation employees, members of the golf community and relatives of national team players have lost jobs, homes and in some cases have gone to the front line to fight for their country.
Towards the end of 2022 the Project was able to generate enough funds to for the national junior players and their chaperones to travel to Scotland from across various locations in Europe they had fled to for a week-long camp. The camp provided high-quality coaching and clinics, health and nutrition sessions, mental skills and Rules of Golf workshops, and was followed by the visit to St Andrews where the players were able to meet Rory McIlory, Adrian Meronk and Ryan Fox.
The scholarship fundraising efforts aim to raise enough to for 17 students to pursue their post-secondary education dreams, with all funds being managed and dispersed by The R&A once the individual receives their relevant institution acceptance letter.
To support Project Ukraine then you can donate to the fund at https://cp.golf/3F1N2MH, or contact ProjectUkraine@randa.org to discuss organising an event, inviting juniors to participate in events, fundraising or any other help you wish to offer.
For more information on the CPG Annual Congress visit https://cp.golf/2022AnnualCongress.