Photo: Emma Goddard (LET Professional) and John Burns (Head of Sport, Gateley plc)

The LET, with support from Gateley plc, made its first education grant awards to Emma Goddard and Leigh Whittaker. The new grant-aid scheme was launched at the beginning of December last year as part of the ‘LET’s LEARN’ element of the LET’s development strategy. It exists to encourage the LET’s members to give thought to their personal development, which could be relevant to their careers as professional golfers or their longer-term plans.

Emma joined the tour in 2015 and she achieved her maiden win on the LET’s Access Series in 2017 at the Riberia Sacra Patrimonio de la Humanidad International Ladies Open. She is now seeking to obtain an ASQ Level 5 Diploma in Golf Club Management through the Golf Club Manager’s Association. Commenting on her award, Emma said: “At some point in the future I would like to be a Director of Golf and I feel the time is right for me to start working towards that goal. The Gateley Grant will help me to gain the qualification that will give me the knowledge I need.”

Having enjoyed five years on the LET starting in 2013, Leigh is working towards qualifying as a PGA coach and would like to undertake additional training to enhance her communications skills. Leigh said: “This Gateley Grant will enable me to attend a special course that will give me a much deeper understanding of how to communicate effectively. That will give me a much better understanding of my clients and how to reach out to them and to the goals they want to achieve.”

Soon after the first grants were offered to Emma and Leigh, two additional awards were made to Germany’s Esther Henseleit and France’s Astrid Vayson de Pradenne.

Although Esther is an LET Rookie and has only just started her professional career, she believes that continuing her education is important. She explained: “Since I graduated from high school this summer, I noticed that I miss studying and learning something new besides the golf course. For that reason, I decided to start studying. I’m sure that it will help me to exercise my brain and be the best person and athlete I can be – on and off the golf course.”

Astrid turned Pro in 2013 and secured her maiden professional victory at the 2018 Jabra Ladies Open, but has also worked as a physio since qualifying in 2011. In order to maintain her physio registration, she must attend CPD courses every year and her Gateley Grant will enable her to attend a two-day course that explains the mechanisms and magnitude of the placebo effect of treatment and considers the ethical and moral implications of using placebo in physiotherapy. Astrid commented: “I am looking forward to an update on pain. Indeed, it is the number one concern of my patients, in front of functional limitations.”

The introduction of this grant-aid scheme is part of the LET’s longer-term objective to increase the number of women in decision-making roles in the sport. It is also consistent with the aims set out in The R&A’s ‘Women in Golf Charter’, to which the LET is a signatory.