Golfers in Wales will be able to take advantage of a new dedicated academy facility at The College Merthyr Tydfil, the first of its kind in Wales.
The Golf Academy Studio offers the opportunity for students to take advantage of facilities in Wales which match any of the best around, after being officially opened by Dawn Bowden MS, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, and Chief Whip.
Players can study ‘A’ Levels at The College, or at degree level through a link with the University of South Wales, working with Morlais Golf Club and professional golfer and elite coach, Neil Matthews, who is also the Wales Golf Head of Coaching.
The new facility comes complete with Wellputt and Trackman golfing simulators, the link with Morlais Castle will also see all students at the college able to access the facilities and coaching to suit all levels and needs.
With a range of bursaries and scholarships on offer, the academy programme aims 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.
Wales Golf chief executive Hannah McAllister said, “It is great to see such a quality facility open in Wales and be included in the options available for our elite golfers.
“It is also fantastic that the facility, along with the links with Morlais Castle Golf Club, will open up access to being able to enjoy golf for all the students at The College.”
Bowden said when opening the studio, “I am delighted to be here today to open this fantastic facility. Wales Golf has a core concept of ‘golf for everyone’ and having this facility here in the college really does open up opportunities and make golf accessible for all learners across South East Wales.”
Matthews explained, “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 the academy and these fantastic facilities, we now have a structure and facility in place that will enable them to study any further education course they wish alongside developing as a performance player.”
Commenting on the opening of the new studio and facilities, Delme Jenkins, Sports Academy Co-ordinator at the college, said, “The development of the studio is the icing on the cake for the college’s growing Golf Academy.
“Launched in 2021, the golf 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 Wellputt tilt platform and its revolutionary training concept will help college learners, from beginners to professional players, to practice their putting techniques and bring their putting game to the next level.”
Testament to this is current Golf Academy learner Adeilade Francis. Adeilade, who is studying A levels at the college, was present at the opening to showcase the skills and techniques she has developed during her time at the academy.
Demonstrating the equipment, Adeilade, commented, “Being able to join the college’s golf academy has provided me with a fantastic opportunity to develop my golfing skills whilst, at the same time, studying a further education course.
“I am loving the fact that I can just pop into the studio and practice around my lessons. As part of the academy I have also had 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 from Neil Matthews, Head of Coaching for Wales Golf.
Speaking at the launch, College Principal, Lisa Thomas, commented, “We are delighted to be launching this brand new state of the art facility.
“We have seen a growing demand and increased numbers of learners expressing an interest in joining our academy and we are looking forward to seeing increased numbers come through over the next few years.”