R&A bursaries a career boost for SA women in golf

SAGDB graduate Bella Modisha became the 1st black woman to successfully qualify as a PGA professional via the PGA of SA’s Pathway to Membership programme.

18 September 2020 – Like most countries in the world, the golf industry in South Africa is slowly recovering from the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic, but as they say, every cloud has a silver lining and in this case, the PGA of South Africa received exciting news for three women looking to start a career in golf.

“We are very pleased to announce that the R&A has granted the PGA of South Africa bursaries for three suitable candidates to study and complete our Pathway to Membership Program,” said PGA of South Africa Chief Executive Ivano Ficalbi.

“The R&A invests more than R100-billion in golf worldwide each year and this includes grassroots initiatives, coaching, public facilities, equipment profession, professional golf, amateur events and student golf.

“Over the years, the PGA of South Africa has built a strong working relationship with the R&A Working for Golf team through ongoing projects within Africa. In 2018, the R&A also launched the Women in Golf Charter with the aim to inspire a global industry-wide commitment to developing a more inclusive culture within golf around the world.

“This charter aligns itself with the transformational policies of all the major role players within the South African golf industry, including the PGA of South Africa. We currently have 43 qualified Women PGA Professional members and another 12 are presently in the Pathway to Membership programme.

“Earlier this year, we collaborated with GolfRSA / Womens Golf South Africa and the Womens Professional Golf Association South Africa (WPGA) and submitted a proposal to the R&A around the growth of Women PGA Professionals from disadvantaged backgrounds. We are grateful and very excited by their acceptance. The resulting bursaries will contribute to a career in the sport for the three successful candidates, and the growth of the game amongst women in South Africa.”

The PGA of South Africa Pathway to Membership is a three-year programme made up of an inspirational and instructive academic line-up.

This is backed up by practical training on the job working under a PGA qualified mentor. The programme includes subjects such as Coaching, Equipment Technology, Sports Science, Business, Rules of Golf, Golf World and Personal Development.

Each bursary will cover the PGA academic fees, joining fees, subs and TAT fees and the costs of attending the week of annual lectures.

GolfRSA CEO and South African Golf Development Board Chief Executive Grant Hepburn welcomed the support from the R&A.

“GolfRSA – through Womens Golf South Africa and the South African Golf Development Board – is committed to growing the game among women, girls and families,” he said.

“The transformation of the sport and industry remains a top priority and Womens Golf South Africa is always looking at new initiatives to encourage more women and girls to take up the game and to stay within the sport, either as members of clubs, as touring professionals, or by following a career path in golf.

“The primary objective is to ensure that our women and girls flourish and that they maximise their potential at all levels of the sport. GolfRSA and Womens Golf South Africa applaud the PGA of South Africa and the R&A for joining us in empowering women to pursue successful careers working in the various streams of the golf industry.

“Through the Pathway to Membership programme, the possibilities are numerous and members of the PGA of South Africa can become coaches, directors of golf, club managers, tournament or golf administrators, retailers, rules officials and even custom fitters.

“We look forward to the bursary programme being rolled out in 2021 and following the progress of the successful candidates.”


The deadline for applications is 16 October 2020. Interested candidates can download the R&A Bursary Application Criteria document and Bursary Application Form at the links below:
Application: https://www.golfrsa.com/ra-bursary/
Application Criteria: https://www.golfrsa.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/RA-bursary-application-criteria-2020-Final.pdf

Please submit the above documentation with a letter of motivation to Womens Golf South Africa Secretary, Verucia Bell, at secretary@wgsa.co.za or the PGA of SA Education and Training Manager, Andrew Gunn, at andrew@pga.co.za.

For more information on the Pathway to Membership programme, visit https://pga.co.za/3-year-pga-programme/

To learn more about careers in golf, view these video from the PGA of South Africa on YouTube: