The East Coast Pro Tour (ECPT) broke new ground last year by setting up “My Golf Fund”, a crowdfunding campaign allowing professional players to reduce their expenses in pursuit of their dream. A few weeks before the start of the season, the circuit now wants to help the university teams.
Thanks to this process, players on the circuit have had their entire season financed on the ECPT. According to Tour data, 272 donors have given nearly $30,000 to their favorite golfers to help them succeed in playing golf full-time.
“We know the power of crowdfunding,” says Massimo Roch in an interview on Zoom.
The president and co-founder of the circuit and his right arm Luca Greco have therefore thought about how to help as many young players as possible. Even if they do not necessarily evolve on the circuit.
A former University of Montreal Carabins player himself, Roch knows “there are certain costs associated with playing golf. When you’re not professional, or even when you are, it’s very expensive.”
This is why it will be possible for university and even college golf teams to take advantage of the crowdfunding platform offered and built by the ECPT.
Laval University was the first to raise their hand.
The University of Sherbrooke, the University of Montreal, McGill University and even Cégep André-Laurendeau will also be part of the program.
The goal is simple: “Help promote and above all help the next generation of players to become elite and professional golfers”. The mission of the circuit has been the same since its foundation in 2019.
It will be up to the coaches of each formation to decide where the donations will be invested. This could include increasing training volume, getting better equipment, funding a training camp, or paying for travel and accommodation when needed.
“It’s not just that it’s better for the players, but also for the group of coaches. »
If they wish, donors will also be able to help players individually, without necessarily sending their donations to the team pool.
Thus, student-athletes will also have to promote themselves, precisely, to attract the favor of their admirers. At least that’s what the model is based on, believes Massimo Roch: “It’s not an idea that would have worked so well 20 years ago. With social networks, everyone is connected. Everyone is on Instagram, everyone is on Facebook. So each player, through his own community, his own network and even through his golf club, will be able to invite people to help him. »
The founders even have Ontario and American universities in their sights, since the circuit went beyond Quebec borders last season.
Roch refuses to play the ostrich: “The best players like Laurent Desmarchais or William Duquette will continue to go there [American universities]. This is normal and this is not what needs to be changed necessarily. »
Quebec and Canadian golf is on a good path, especially on the women’s side, and that’s what the circuit wants to bet on.
Even though the population is aging and golf is still perceived by many as an old-fashioned sport, Roch assures, bluntly, that “the next generation is there”.
Now, “you just have to make sure that it thrives in the world of golf and that there are more serious competitors and the only way to last is to have the funds to pay”, explains the Montrealer .
Every player is at the mercy of their own development, especially in golf. Some pierce early, others later. Thus, playing on the Quebec or Canadian university circuit is not a consolation prize. On the contrary, it is an opportunity for some to develop their skills in a healthy and competitive environment.
“Golf is a strange sport because it takes perseverance. Sometimes you feel like you’re the worst player in the world, sometimes you’re the best. I know exactly what that feeling is. Everyone peaks at different times. »
Professional tours are the ultimate dream for many golfers. To access it, however, they must play. And for most local talent, it must necessarily go through Quebec universities. Hence the importance, for the ECPT, to put its grain of salt.