Britain’s highest golf course now has the greens to match its stature, thanks to an award from a grants programme helping to regenerate communities across South East Wales.
West Mon Golf Club in Nantyglo, Blaenau Gwent – which has a tee at 1,518 feet above sea level, making it the highest in Britain according to the Guinness Book of Records – has been able to buy green-cutting machinery after receiving almost £15,000 from the EU-funded South East Wales Community Economic Development (SEWCED) programme.
Supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and run by a six-Valleys local authorities’ consortium of Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Torfaen, SEWCED has invested £7.3m in 106 social enterprises since it began in 2010, helping to create 22 social enterprises and 110 full-time jobs.
Established in 1906, West Mon is a member-run not for profit organisation, its challenging par 71 course overlooking the Brecon Beacons with spectacular views over the Blaenau Gwent, Powys and Monmouthshire countryside. The 14th hole is 18ft higher than Leadhills Golf Club in Lanarkshire, Scotland.
“The course is maintained using specialist cutting machines for greens, fairways and tees, and our machinery stock was old and badly needed replacing,” said Treasurer Brian Williams. “We’ve now been able to purchase two second hand machines and this has had an enormous effect on the course’s condition. The greens especially are now the best they’ve been for many years and have earned glowing praise from members and visitors alike.”
The golf clubhouse has conference facilities, a bar and grill offering meals and a private function room used regularly for wedding receptions, christenings and other parties.
SEWCED Programme Manager Ian Evans said: “The club realises its course must be in the best possible condition to maintain and increase membership levels, promote its use by use by visitors and make the organisation competitive and sustainable.”
Brian Williams added: “We are more than grateful for the SEWCED funding as it will have the effect of not only improving our facilities but also helping to secure the club’s future.”
A range of innovative social enterprises supported by SEWCED will be recognised for their achievements at the project’s EPIC (Enterprising People in Communities) awards, which has seen 72 entries in six categories from 49 social enterprises. A shortlist will be announced in February, with the awards being held at The Vale Resort on March 27.
West Mon Golf Club www.westmongolfclub.co.uk
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