A par 3 golf facility created using Huxley all-weather surfaces is helping to inspire and produce a new generation of golfers in north Wales.
Laid out within Coed Helen Recreation Park, Caernarfon, the open access community short course is part of a grassroots golf project developed by Gwynedd Council using money from the Ryder Cup Wales Legacy Fund.
Provided by the Welsh Assembly Government and administered on behalf of Ryder Cup Wales by The Sports Council for Wales, the Legacy Fund represents a £2 million investment in grassroots golf resulting from a commitment given as part of Wales’s successful bid to host the 2010 Ryder Cup.
The funding is intended to help local authorities, schools and golf clubs throughout Wales develop new low-cost open access facilities, seen as being essential in encouraging the take-up of golf by young people and others new to the game.
In addition to the Huxley short course at Coed Helen, the funding received by Gwynedd Council has assisted in the development of community golf facilities at four primary schools in the county.
Featuring three greens, nine tees and five bunkers, the short course within Coed Helen Recreation Park was designed and installed by Huxley Golf area distributor, Merit Golf, based near Conwy. The course, which measures a total of 427 yards (390m), is laid out on an area of approximately 4 acres (1.6ha) previously occupied by a grass pitch and putt course that had proved both difficult and expensive to maintain.
Terry Adamson, a director of Merit Golf, pointed out that Gwynedd Council had requested specifically the use of low maintenance playing surfaces for its new community golf facility.
“Golf Development Wales had carried out practical tests on a number of synthetic playing surfaces for the Centre of Excellence projects in Wales and recommended Huxley all-weather greens and tees as being the most suitable for those installations,” he said. “It was felt that these turf surfaces would be perfect also for the Coed Helen project. Not only did the surfaces satisfy all performance requirements but the total cost of the project, including installation, was within the specified budget.”
The course layout, designed by Merit Golf in conjunction with the North Wales golf development officer, Dilwyn Griffiths, allows for three groups of up to four golfers to play the course with minimal waiting time or risk to the group in front. Each of the three greens is played in turn from one of three different teeing positions to provide shots of varying length and direction to produce an interesting and enjoyable golfing experience for novice and first-time golfers.
To encourage youngsters to try their hand at golf, Gwynedd Council is organising coaching and supervision as well as special fun golf sessions for nine to 13 year olds during the school holidays. In addition to encouraging new players to try their hand at golf, the Coed Helen project also offers a clear pathway for anyone wishing to progress and develop their game on a full-size course such as the one at nearby Caernarfon Golf Club.
Councillor Meinir Owen, chairman of Gwynedd Council, commented that the council hoped to encourage children and new players to the sport of golf and, in particular, to the new golf facility at Coed Helen.
“Its holes of varying length and difficulty give an excellent short game practice facility for players of all standards,” she said. “I am certain that by providing accessible facilities throughout Wales which will be less daunting for the beginner, we will help attract a new generation of golfers into the game.”
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