Academic Dr Val Franklin is to become the new President of Wales Golf, the next stage on a journey that started with and still includes helping junior golfers in West and Mid Wales.
Dr Franklin has filled many roles in Welsh golf, starting through her club Aberdovey and then Great Britain and Ireland handicapping body CONGU, volunteering at championships, a Wales Golf Board Director and Chair of Wales Golf for six years.
The Aston University Biomaterials Research Fellow will now take up a two-year term as President in April, promising the honorary position will not change her or her contribution to Welsh golf.
“It is a nice honour, but a huge, huge surprise,” explained Dr Franklin. “It is a great privilege to be asked, but I would not have felt comfortable doing it if I could not bring something to the role
“I think it is going to be an interesting challenge. The team at Wales Golf are great and that is what makes it such a delight and honour to do something like this, to promote what everybody does and move the culture forward.
“The president’s role is to help communicate and reinforce the good work that is going on to help move the sport forward.”
Dr Franklin has been involved with Wales Golf for more than a decade after volunteering at her club Aberdovey more than 20 years ago led on to other opportunities.
“My time with Wales Golf started in 2010 as chair of the handicapping and course rating committee and everything evolved from that – and is still evolving to ensure we interact and engage with the clubs to provide the support they need,” she explained.
“There are huge challenges to capture people who play golf but are not members of clubs, but the World Handicap System has really increased the spectrum of inclusivity.
“It is possible to start looking at gender-less tees and encouraging people to play off tees suitable for their ability. That has got to be good for the game. But the real challenge for the clubs is to build on the recent increase in membership.
“Golf is evolving from something elitist to something which is open and inclusive, while there is still something important about the values of the sport. We have to change while keeping the culture and history.”
Dr Franklin is pleased to keep a link with Wales Golf after playing such a large role in the last few years.
“Wales Golf has gone from strength to strength since it was first formed through the merger of the men’s and ladies’ unions back in 2007,” she said.
“It all started for me with someone saying to me they needed help with the juniors and someone else saying they needed help with the handicapping – it has spiralled from there.”
Wales Golf www.walesgolf.org