The College Merthyr Tydfil has announced the launch of a brand new Golf Academy to be offered to all learners from September 2021.
Working in partnership with Wales Golf and Morlais Castle Golf Club in Merthyr Tydfil, the academy aims to provide an inclusive enrichment programme that will be accessible to all learners whilst at the same time providing a performance and coaching pathway for those golfers that wish to develop themselves as a performance player alongside their academic studies.
The Academy, which is the first of its kind in Wales, will provide a brand new unique opportunity for learners who wish to develop their golfing skills or pursue their interest and love of playing golf whilst studying a further education course at The College Merthyr Tydfil.
Based on the Wales Golf concept ‘golf for everyone’ learners will be able to study any further education course they wish to at the college and combine this with the golf enrichment programme. So whether they want to become an engineer, medic, beautician or study construction with the aim of progressing into an apprenticeship, this enrichment programme will be accessible to them.
With coaching to suit all levels and needs, and a range of bursaries and scholarships on offer, the programme will also aim to provide a series of fun and engaging activities to spark interest and promote the sport to those of all genders and the ‘non-traditional’ golf audience. A key element of this will be championing female participation across all levels.
In addition to the enrichment route, there will also be a performance pathway available for those more serious or competitive golfers.
Through the performance pathway, learners will have the opportunity to take part in Association of Colleges (AoC) Sport National Championship events and AoC Team matches whilst at the same time receiving an individualised practice and training plan.
However, the real selling point of this performance pathway will undoubtedly be the opportunity to receive individual coaching sessions each week with professional golfer and elite coach, Neil Matthews.
Neil, who is currently Wales Golf Head of Coaching, the National Men’s & Boy’s Coach and Glamorgan Head Coach, brings with him a wealth of experience, expertise and knowledge, ensuring that all learners on this performance pathway receive the very best coaching and support possible.
Lisa Thomas, Principal at The College Merthyr Tydfil, said: “We’re so pleased to have the support of Wales Golf and the inspirational Neil Matthews as part of our new and unique Academy. The enthusiasm, professionalism, knowledge and experience that they will bring to the programme will ensure that all learners have the best experience possible, whether they are just looking to pursue golf as an additional enrichment activity or whether they are looking to develop their performance aspects. My thanks also go to Morlais Castle Golf Club, who will be supporting the on-course aspects of the programme through the use of their facilities. I am very much looking forward to seeing our first learners join the academy in September.
Zoe Thacker, Lead for Equality and Regional Club Development Officer at Wales Golf, commented: “Wales Golf is delighted to be supporting The College Merthyr Tydfil’s new Golf Academy and we very much looking forward to seeing learners come through and participate in the programme.
“This programme brings a brand new unique concept to Wales as there is currently nowhere in the country that enables learners to combine playing golf with studying a further education qualification.
“We at Wales Golf are committed to ensuring that golf is ‘Everyone’s Game, Anywhere’ and sharing this vision in practice with the college forms a hugely positive part of this. Through this new golf academy we can promote the benefits of playing golf to all genders and in turn hopefully increase participation amongst females and other under-represented groups.”
Elite Coach Neil Matthews said: “I’m really excited about being part of this new academy. I get really frustrated when I see excellent golfers having to leave Wales so that they can pursue their dream of playing golf alongside their studies. Through this academy, we now have a structure in place that will enable them to study any further education course they wish alongside developing as a performance player.”
Adam Richard, Club Manager at Morlais Castle Golf Club expressed his delight at this new initiative, stating: “Morlais Castle Golf Club is committed to ensuring that we offer a fully inclusive club environment and this academy will enable us to further promote and encourage this inclusivity aspect, ensuring that all learners at the college have the opportunity to play, whether they are seeking to engage as an enrichment activity or interest or whether they are wishing to further develop their golf skills.”