The British Pitch and Putt Association is affiliated to the European Pitch and Putt Association, both of which operate within the Rules of Golf as published by The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrew's and the United States Golf Association.
An exception is made to Rule 4.4 relating to the number of clubs that a player is permitted in his bag.
The objective of the Association is to promote, administer and control competitive pitch and putt as an amateur sport in Great Britain.
The Association is non-profit making and an equal opportunities organisation providing competition for all levels of ability.
The Association is composed of the clubs affiliated to it along with any regional governing bodies formed in due course, together with individual members.
We will always remember the initial input by Willie Parker a well respected Irish coach working out of Centenary Park Harrow and also by David Bugg & Keith Fletcher, who held the franchises of a number of Pitch & Putt courses in the M25 corridor around London between them they organised the 1st European competition at West Park, Chelmsford, also part of David Bugg’s group of franchises, as part of the Chelmsford City 400th year celebrations in 1999.
The first attempt at a 'National' championship was initiated by Willie Parker and organised by June Van Eysson and Brian Jackson at the Cromwell Par 3 course, part of the Abbotsley Golf And Country Club complex, near St.Neots, Cambridgeshire in July 2000, this event was for Ladies only, and was made possible by the encouragement & interest shown by the owner of the complex Vivien Saunders and Jonathan Tubb, General Manager at Abbotsley.
The following year the event was boosted by the presence of Mervyn Cooney (President of European Pitch and Putt Association at that time) John Manning (General Secretary of EPPA) and Willie Parker, all of whom attended from Ireland at their own expense. Subsequently, the British Pitch & Putt Union name was changed to British Pitch and Putt Association, and Doreen Powell replaced David Bugg as President. Graham Powell (Doreen's husband) worked diligently with Jonathan Tubb to get the Par 3 course modified to comply with the EPPA (compromise) distances. For the first few years the British Championship has always been held on this course with the generous co-operation of Jonathan Tubb & the green staff of American Golf U.K. Subsequently it has grown to include men, juniors and seniors and in 2005 was held at Biddenden in Kent.
The 1st purpose built course for public use, possibly in the World, was in England, on the front at Southsea (Portsmouth), opened in 1914. This course is still in popular use and is owned & maintained by Portsmouth City Council, but franchised out to a private individual.
During the inter-war years, P&P courses sprang up all over England, generally at seaside resorts, for the entertainment of 'non-golfing' holidaymakers, when the English Summer was its usual dismal self. This, unfortunately, gave birth to the general public perception of P&P as 'a bit of a lark', not to be taken seriously. It was left to The Irish to organise the game seriously in the 1940s, when several courses were built in the Cork area and organised matches took place. A similar scenario was taking place in the Dublin area. In 1961 the two organisations amalgamated and the Irish Pitch & Putt Union was born. Meanwhile in England, the hundreds of P&P courses, mostly owned by municipal authorities, were franchised out, as local authorities sought to divest themselves of their maintenance & direct employee responsibilities.
The 'original' course at Southsea is a case in point. The franchisee has a thriving business from holidaymakers and the local University students and has no interest in competitions, nor the BPPA and their efforts to promote the sport in a structured way. This example encapsulates the difficulty BPPA have in their efforts to expand.
However, a tremendous boost was given to the BPPA when the owner/manager of a par 3 course at Letchworth, Hertfordshire. Brian Keay, became involved with the BPPA and joined his players en bloc and began entering teams & individuals in BPPA competitions.
British teams have entered and played in European Championships held in Chelmsford, Lloret-de-Mar in Catalonia, Dublin and Arnhem in Holland with improved performances in each Championship. The 1st Invitational World Championship was held in Chia, Sardinia in 2005.
Just one final slightly bizarre historical note: In England, during the 16th century, when 'ye golfe' and other games were banned on a Sunday, and church attendance was compulsory; short courses were set up within church grounds to circumvent the law. Each hole measured 50-100 yards (45-90 metres) and the ball was hit at the target with one club! Uncannily similar to the EPPA/BPPA standards! Is this the true origin of Pitch and Putt?