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Golf Gives Back To Fijian Community

Golf Gives Back To Fijian Community
Top golfer Ernie Els to play in this year’s Fiji International which starts on Thursday. Photo: Wikimedia
July 30
11:27 2018

The Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways tees off this week and is possibly the single biggest tourism advertisement for the country each year.

However, organisers of the Fiji’s largest international event believe the tournament should be more than just an advert with the local community also direct beneficiaries.

“It’s always been our goal for the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways to be about more than just a one-week golf tournament,” said Gavin Kirkman CEO of the PGA of Australia which owns the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and along with Sports and Entertainment Limited owns the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways.

“Our hope is that we can leave a lasting legacy for the entire nation of Fiji beyond just the four days of tournament play and the exposure that brings. Promoting tourism to Fiji via the international television coverage is a very obvious benefit of playing here but we want the tournament to be more than just an ad for Fiji as a destination. We are proud to host a number of community initiatives that we hope Fijians not only become involved in but also reap the benefits.”
Last Saturday, Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Koya launched the Bucks for Birdies and SmartLabs Free Medical Testing initiatives.


Bucks for birdies: Golf boosts schools in Fiji

Birdies are the goal of every golfer in every tournament but gaining a stroke on the field will take on a whole new meaning at the 2018 Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways.

Professional golfers teeing up at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course will be playing for more than just themselves from 2-5 August as every birdie made – by every player in the field – will mean $10 donated to the Fiji school system.

“We are excited by the initiative presented to us by the PGA of Australia, it’s such a novel way to help re-build our resources after the devastation caused by our most recent cyclones” said Koya.

“It will provide our students with even more reason to follow the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways, knowing that the more birdies scored the more funding they will receive.

“It really is a great way to engage our students during the tournament and leaving a legacy past the event this year.”

The birdie count has been trending upwards the past two years at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course and organisers and educators will be hoping that continues in 2018.

In 2014 players amassed 1,048 birdies with difficult conditions seeing that figure drop to just 843 in 2015.

But 2016 and 2017 have seen a significant uptick with 1,321 registered in 2016 and 1,318 last year.

Another strong field will gather at the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways this year, including four-time major winner and 2019 Presidents Cup Captain Ernie Els, and the ‘Bucks for Birdies’ initiative is set to reap the rewards.

“The Bucks for Birdies initiative is a perfect example of how professional golf can have a positive impact well beyond the playing of the game and it is a source of great pride to everyone at the PGA, including the players, to be involved in something so important.”

Working alongside the Ministry for Education, the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways has identified six schools which are set to benefit from the Bucks for Birdies initiative including Batiri Public School, Naidiri Bay Khasla Primary, Malomalo Primary, Rahmatullah Khan Memorial Primary, Tuva Primary and Nadroga Arya College.

With the final Bucks for Birdies donation amount to be announced following play on Sunday 5th August, these six schools will be eagerly awaiting the official birdie count with the donated money set to fund school books and resources or sporting equipment.

In addition to the monetary donation, the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways is proud to donate to these school’s new books with thanks from Pan Macmillan.


– Fiji International




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