All golfing eyes may be focusing on Chicago for this year’s Ryder Cup, but the impact of the Celtic Manor event two years ago is still having a major impact – as the work with juniors at one of Wales’s top clubs shows.
Aberdovey on the North coast of Cardigan Bay in Gwynedd is one of the top courses in Wales, but their junior golf development continues to go up and up thanks to the work started by the Ryder Cup Legacy Fund as a new junior team prepares for their first matches against other Mid Wales clubs.
Two years after the third biggest sporting event in the world left Welsh shores, the take up of junior golf at Aberdovey goes from strength to strength while visitor green fees and overseas interest continues to help the club on the back of publicity from the 2010 Ryder Cup.
“In a way these initiatives are catching up with the reputation of the course, the Ryder Cup is still having an impact – certainly Aberdovey is still benefitting from it,” explained the club’s junior organiser Dr Val Franklin. “It was all kicked off by the Ryder Cup Legacy Fund which helped with the teaching room and we have kept rolling the initiatives out since then, it has given us the impetus to keep going.
“We are focussed on what we can do next, we have got the Higher Award of Junior Accreditation from Golf Development Wales, have started junior coaching on the football field beside the club because we were running out of space, as well as many other junior initiatives, so then we have looked at what we can do next. All that would not have happened without the original funding and we have also been able to benefit from the interest in golf generated by the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.
“Quite simply we would not be where we are without our junior organising team and additional help from lots of enthusiastic people wanting to encourage golf. We had one Level One coach before all this started, now we have another three with at least two more taking the qualifications shortly – we are trying to keep up with the demand.”
Once the club have enough coaches in place they will take golf into local schools on a greater basis, as the initiatives started under club professional Joe Davies go from strength to strength with new club pro Andy Humphreys.
The club are also still benefitting from overseas members and visitors thanks to the publicity generated for Welsh golf by the Ryder Cup, which helps them maintain the quality of the historic course in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
However the junior development is eye-catching as the team prepare for their first inter-club matches over the rest of the summer.
“Aberdovey is a great example of how we can attract new players to the game and it is all thanks to an outstanding team of volunteers,” said Golf Union of Wales chairman John Jermine who was also the chairman of Ryder Cup Wales, who provided the initial legacy grant.
“The tremendous enthusiasm of all of these youngsters at Aberdovey is wonderfull to see and many of them will have a lifetime of pleasure and exercise from our wonderful sport.
“The combination of a top teaching professional, a wonderful team of volunteers and the support of the club’s members and Secretary will ensure that Aberdovey, one of the oldest clubs in Wales, will go from strength to strength and all of us in Wales congratulate the club on leading the way forwards. We wish them every success in the future.”
Aberdovey Golf Club www.aberdoveygolf.co.uk
Golf Development Wales www.golfdevelopmentwales.org