Golfers will be able to play for free in Wales as part of Golf Awareness Week – launched under the slogan ‘Pick it up for the Ryder Cup.’
The week will tee off after the US Masters, seen as the traditional start of the golf season, running from 12 – 18 April. The ambitious scheme will also include the chance to win tickets to the practice days at this year’s Ryder Cup.
The free golf is part of a series of initiatives being run by Golf Development Wales to encourage people to take up the game and join clubs, aiming to build on the huge interest being generated by hosting the Ryder Cup in Wales later this year.
It is a new and exciting scheme, supported by golf’s governors the R and A, to increase the sport’s profile in Wales and encourage non club members to join their local golf club.
Cradoc golf club in Mid Wales have decided to offer 28 free tee times between 2-4pm during the week, along with trial six month memberships.
Around 500 children will be involved in festivals run by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council at 36 primary and secondary schools during the week, just to give two examples of the early plans.
Golf Union of Wales director of Golf Development Hannah Fitzpatrick said, “This is a really exciting scheme to boost the profile of golf in Wales in the year of the Ryder Cup.
“It is aimed at encouraging people to take up the game, while also encouraging nomadic and former club members to join their local golf clubs. It is a great game with social and health benefits and we want as many people as possible to experience the benefits of playing at a club in Wales.
“We are encouraging clubs to get involved in “Welsh Free Golf Week.’ We have invited all golf clubs throughout Wales to set aside a number of FREE tee-times during the week for nomadic golfers, at a time which best suits the club.
“This will give non golf club members the chance to play their local course and view the facilities, in return the clubs can gain invaluable contact details, sell the benefits of the club and potentially secure new members.
“As an added option, clubs can invite their members to play with participants or create and open day out of the occasion. They can promote special membership offers during that week.
“Club professionals could offer free lessons within that week to help encourage people to take up the game with the best possible help and guidance.”
During this week, local authorities will be encouraged to maximise the golf coverage by running Dragon Sport Tri-Golf or Golf Xtreme Festivals for children, who will also be encouraged to dress up in traditional golfing attire from 1924, the year of the first Ryder Cup.
Pictures from that will then be entered into a prize draw for Ryder Cup Wales practice day tickets for a number of children and supervisors, while the photos will also be posted on the Golf Development Wales website and media outlets.
“It is a great opportunity for them to have some fun dressing up in old style golf clothes to signify 1924 and we are really looking forward to seeing the pictures,” said Fitzpatrick.
“It will also highlight how much golf has changed over the years to become modern and fashionable with icons such as Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter.
“Being able to get tickets for the Ryder Cup Wales practice days is a fantastic incentive and will also encourage cross-curricular links for schools to research the history of golf and the history of a massive event like the Ryder Cup.
“Clubs should not allow themselves to be left out. It is the year of the Ryder Cup in Wales and an opportunity to inspire a new generation of golfers.”
All details can be found online at www.golfdevelopmentwales.org