David Johnson, based at the Lavender Park Golf Centre in Surrey, is one of the PGAs of Europe’s 22-man golf development team playing a key role in implementing the R&A’s ‘Working for Golf’ programme. This year Johnson has been lending his expertise to Madagascar’s fledgling golfing scene. He has spent 10 days on the island with a wide ranging brief all with the aim of raising standards of golf.
Work included coaching its junior team, training its trainers, guidance on the strategic development of the Federation of Madagascar Golf, giving advice on the quality of golf courses on the island and reviewing the handicap system. Since his visit Johnson has regularly kept in contact with the country and hopes to go back as part of the PGAs of Europe development team. He clearly made an impact too with a golf academy for underprivileged children renamed the David Johnson Golf Academy.
Johnson commented, “Madagascar is very sparse as far as golf is concerned with only about five courses. The clubs have a lot of talented caddies and I was helping to teach them how to coach but also being mindful that they were not becoming golf professionals. My brief was to assess golf on the island, to teach the caddies and juniors and players at a couple of clubs because they don’t have a single golf pro on the island. I was also trying to achieve some unity between the golf clubs and the Federation so it will become a body that reports to the R&A.”
Also helping the R&A deliver its ‘Working for Golf’ programme in 2014 have been Steven Orr (Cranfield Golf Academy) and Jonathan Mannie (Swiss Golf Association) in India, Craig Thomas (The Golf Academy) in Brazil, Kevin Flynn (Tournerbury Golf Centre) in Chile and Tony Bennett in Bulgaria.