Golf Development Wales (GDW), the development arm of the Golf Union of Wales (GUW) has commissioned Swan Golf Designs to undertake two more ‘starter’ projects in South Wales expanding the country’s golfing base.
At Rhondda Golf Club, a nine hole chip and run course and short game academy are being laid out on a 4.5 acre parcel of open grassland, adjacent to the clubhouse. The facility will complement the existing eighteen hole golf course, blessed with spectacular panoramic views.
The concept for a chip and run – with holes typically 35 to 45 metres in length featuring mowed ‘runways’ aligned uphill, downhill and sidehill – is derived to encourage the skill required for the short game demanded by a golf course 290 metres above sea level. Construction is due to commence in May 2008.
Further west at Ammanford, the rehabilitation of a nine hole par 3 golf course at the Tycroes Golf Complex, is currently under way. The scheme features enhancements in the course layout and formations.
The concept for both projects, initiated by GDW in conjunction with GUW and reviewed by Sports Council for Wales, enabled each to receive grant monies of £70,000 from the Ryder Cup Wales Legacy Fund (RCLF), managing a total of £2 million allocated by the Welsh Assembly Government, as a commitment to grass roots golf in the local communities.
GDW’s initiative is entirely consistent with SGD’s beliefs in the need to design more accessible, more affordable and more sustainable golf facilities, embodied in Howard Swan’s FIRSTGOLF® concept and initiative, and presently being implemented at home and abroad.
Nigel Henbury, senior architect at SGD, and responsible for their projects in the Principality, adds, “The profile of Welsh sport is gaining momentum and with the support of RCLF, golf is at the forefront – testament to the initiative of GDW in conjunction with GUW to extend, expand and broaden the country’s golfing stock to encourage greater participation in the game.
“GDW, along with the local officers of Sports Council for Wales, have connected with the local communities and created the pathway for our professional expertise to enable the implementation of projects in South Wales. The mission is to create a legacy in local sports development, and employment opportunities in the reawakening of the Valleys’ landscape.”
Elsewhere, Henbury’s design at Parc Bryn Bach, near Tredegar, for Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council opened for play three weeks ago. The nine hole par 3 public golf course – built to a comprehensive specification and a sensitive restoration of challenging ground – driving range and academy facilities is a further addition to the Country Park’s other established outdoor facilities serving the local and regional communities.
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