Young Ukrainian Players Visit St Andrews

The players were invited to the Home of Golf as part of the Project Ukraine golf camp

The Ukrainian National Golf Team, Veronika Rastvortseva and Toni Zverblis of Project Ukraine pose with Dunhill Links Champion Ryan Fox on the Swilcan Bridge in St Andrews
(Image credit: The R&A)

A group of young Ukrainian golfers who had to leave the war-torn country have visited St Andrews as part of the Project Ukraine golf camp organised by a group of women in The R&A’s Women In Golf Leadership Development Programme.

Before heading to the Home of Golf, the young players were given top-quality coaching and clinics, health and nutrition sessions, mental skills, and Rules of Golf workshops during the camp at the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel Golf & Spa in Peebles. Meanwhile, thanks to equipment and attire supplied by PING, they also played in a special tournament against juniors from the Stephen Gallagher Foundation.

The day after, the group were taken to the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews after an invite from the DP World Tour. There, they were introduced to Rory McIlroy and Adrian Meronk and had their picture taken with winner Ryan Fox on the iconic Swilcan Bridge.

Project Ukraine with Rory McIlroy at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in St Andrews

(Image credit: The R&A)

Further activities followed, including being put through their paces at Peebles Golf Club by St Andrews University Director of Golf Ian Muir and a Q&A session hosted by former Ladies European Tour player Sophie Walker. They then experienced a putting workshop supported by PuttOut Golf.

The camp was organised after members of The R&A’s Women In Golf Leadership Development Programme took inspiration from colleague Veronika Rastvortseva after she gave an emotional account of what her family was enduring. Rastvortseva explained the experience would have a profound effect on the youngsters. She said: “I have no doubt this experience has changed their lives. The support they have had during this camp from the Project Ukraine team is enormous. I can’t describe how important it has been for these kids to be back together like a family, getting them back to the tee to play golf, and to just to sit and chat in the lobby and share what they have been through over the past months.

"Their dreams have come true – they met Rory McIlroy and shook his hand. They had a welcome message from Tommy Fleetwood – it’s a dream for any junior. Unfortunately all these kids have trauma – but for us it was so important to keep them away from that for a short time.”

Project Ukraine’s Toni Zverblis added: “We’ve all watched the horrors unfold in Ukraine and we were compelled to help after listening to our colleague Veronika Rasvortseva describe what was going on around her in the early days of the invasion. We have been so excited to meet these talented young golfers and give them five days to focus on their passion with their peers. Our goal was that the camp provided hope and inspiration. We want to ensure that these young golfers' dreams and ambitions are kept alive despite the devastation they face at home in Ukraine.”

Jackie Davidson, Director - Golf Development at The R&A, said: “This is a wonderful example of some incredibly talented women working in the golf industry using their initiative and expertise to provide an outstanding opportunity for young golfers whose lives and ambitions have been severely disrupted by the terrible situation in Ukraine. We are extremely proud of the efforts they have made to do something so significant for these golfers and are delighted to support the project. We strongly believe that golf should be open to all, and this group of women have demonstrated the importance of this value in action.” 

Following the success of the camp, it is hoped the group can continue to support Ukrainian junior golfers. For more information and to learn how to become involved and support Project Ukraine, you can contact the project via projectukraine@randa.org.

Mike Hall
Freelance Staff Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 


He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 


Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 


Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.