The Celtic Manor Resort Golf Academy has become the Wales National Centre of Excellence following the launch of its new short game practice area, built with the assistance of a Legacy Fund grant from Ryder Cup Wales.
The new facility was officially unveiled on Tuesday 5th May in the presence of American golfing legend Arnold Palmer.
The new short game practice area features three pitching greens made from artificial turf and three tees, all with grass and artificial turf options, meaning the facility can be used for practice and tuition in all weathers throughout the year. In addition, the Legacy Fund grant will also support the development of an indoor putting area within the Golf Academy.
The development was made possible by a £150,000 Legacy Fund grant from Ryder Cup Wales and, following further investment by Celtic Manor, the total cost of the 12-month project to build the pitching area was £225,000.
Allied to the facilities already in place, including a 32-bay, two-tier driving range; specialist swing studios; chipping and putting greens; and a team of PGA professionals, The Celtic Manor Resort Golf Academy has now been appointed the National Centre of Excellence by the Golf Union of Wales, complementing the four other Regional Centres built with National Lottery funding from the Sports Council for Wales.
Elite national squads at all age groups will hone their skills on the short game practice area but it will also be available for use by a number of County squads and players of all abilities, from Celtic Manor members and visiting golfers to local children trying the game for the first time.
Celtic Manor Resort chief executive Dylan Matthews said, “It gives us great pleasure to open this new short game practice area and The Celtic Manor Resort takes great pride in becoming the Wales National Centre of Excellence.
”As the host venue for The 2010 Ryder Cup, we hope to leave a lasting legacy for future generations of Welsh golfers and we are grateful for the Legacy Fund grant we have received from Ryder Cup Wales which has been instrumental in the building of this important new facility.”
Ryder Cup Wales Chairman John Jermine said, “Celtic Manor Resort is our golfing ‘Gateway to Wales’ and with over 40 Legacy Fund projects throughout Wales our golfers will have the very best practice and coaching facilities available to them. We were delighted to contribute to this wonderful short game area and be part of this superb Centre of Excellence.”
Arnold Palmer attended the official opening after being presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the KPMG Golf Business Forum held at The Celtic Manor Resort from 4-6 May.
”This sort of facility is very important in bringing on the next generation of golfers,” said Palmer, who won seven major championships and played in six Ryder Cups.
It’s great to see as many young people as possible being given a start in the game and I hope they all enjoy their golf.”
Also present at the launch was another former Ryder Cup captain, Welshman Brian Huggett, who had the rare honour of beating Palmer and Jack Nicklaus in a Ryder Cup fourballs match with Maurice Bembridge in 1973.
Together they watched Welsh national squad golfers hit the first balls following the opening of the new short game practice area.
Celtic Manor Resort www.celtic-manor.com