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Young Ukranian Golfers Visit St Andrews

A collective of women working in the golfing industry, through the R&A's Women in Golf Leadership Development Programme, welcomed a group of seven young Ukrainian golfers to a golf camp in Peebles for a project entitled “Project Ukraine.” The project gave the golfers the opportunity to join together after being forced to leave their war-torn homeland as well as visit the legendary Old Course at St Andrews.

The R&A's Women in Golf Leadership Development Programme took inspiration from their colleague Veronika Rastvortseva, who gave an emotional account of the challenges her family faces in Ukraine.

Project Ukraine’s Toni Zverblis said, “We’ve all watched the horrors unfold in Ukraine and we were compelled to help after listening to our colleague Veronika Rasvortseva describe what was going on around her in the early days of the invasion.”

“Thankfully, she managed to move her family out of the country but has been working tirelessly from her temporary home in Belgium on this project since then. She has helped the group liaise with the Ukrainian Golf Federation and the families whom we are supporting.”

The programme, located at Macdonald Cardrona Hotel Golf & Spa in Peebles, not only provided the opportunity to hone their golf skills through specialized coaching and clinics, but also provided workshops on mental health and nutrition. The group also played in a special tournament against unions from the Stephen Gallagher Foundation and were equipped with golf equipment and clothing from PING.

This camp culminated in the opportunity to visit St Andrews for the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links championship. There, they were able to meet big names in golf, such as Rory McIlroy and Adrian Meronk, and finally gather for a picture with the winner of the tournament, Ryan Fox, on the Swilcan Bridge.

St Andrew’s Director of Golf, Ian Muir, took an integral role in the organisation of the trip. He said of the experience, “I was really honoured and proud to offer some coaching support to the Project Ukraine golfers on their recent trip to Scotland. It was an incredibly humbling experience, and I hope in the future we could offer the opportunity to more children.”

Jackie Davidson, the Director of Golf Development at the R&A, said: “This is a wonderful example of some incredibly talented women working in the golf industry using their initiative and expertise to provide an outstanding opportunity for young golfers whose lives and ambitions have been severely disrupted by the terrible situation in Ukraine.

“We are extremely proud of the efforts they have made to do something so significant for these golfers and are delighted to support the project. We strongly believe that golf should be open to all, and this group of women have demonstrated the importance of this value in action.”

Rastvortseva, who attended the camp with her two daughters, said, “I have no doubt this experience has changed their lives. The support they have had during this camp from the Project Ukraine team is enormous.”

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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