One of the oldest and highest rated golf clubs in Wales was rewarded for modernising itself and preparing for the future when Royal St David’s in Harlech was named as Golf Union of Wales Welsh Golf Club of the Year.
The internationally renowned course received the trophy in a glittering ceremony at Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor with the presentation from Jim Smith, the managing director of Cardiff company Future Financials who sponsored the awards.
The course is regularly ranked in the top 50 in Great Britain and Ireland, has hosted several top events for both amateurs and professionals, including both the S4C Wales Ladies Championship of Europe and Ladies British Open Amateur Championship last year.
However it was the work off the course which earned this award as the club have gone through a modernisation process and started reaping the rewards.
The club was awarded the highest level of Golf Development Wales Junior GolfCert, has won back-to-back Caernarfonshire and District junior championships having never previously won, the ladies won the Welsh Ladies Team Championship, all while bringing in an online booking system, new accomodation and improvements to the course.
“It was tremendous recognition for the hard work we have done in modernising the club,” admitted Secretary Trefor Davies. “We are a very traditional club so we wanted to keep with tradition while modernising as well, so we have adopted a lot of initiatives and made changes which have culminated in this award.
“It was a bit of a shock to the system for some people, but now they seem to have really embraced it. We have upgraded our online booking, looked at our marketing, improved our communications and become much more pro-active with our members to ensure they have their say.
“We have developed accommodation at the course so people can play and stay, there is a new type of membership to encourage people to give it a go, as well as developing the juniors, ladies and encourage people to learn the game.
“We have had more visitors, especially from overseas, so the publicity from the big events has worked really well. We have an international membership including people from Holland, the US and even Australia.
“Our junior section has become a bit like the rugby fly half factory in South Wales. We had never won the Eryri Shield but now we have won it the last two years and there is also success for the ladies.
“We will not rest on our laurels. The Ryder Cup is finishing and we want to consolidate the world that Ryder Cup Wales have started – we have got to keep pushing forward.”
The sponsor, Future Financials, a Cardiff based company, provides golf clubs with a facility that enables their members to pay their annual subscriptions by monthly direct debit payments, rather than in one large annual payment. www.futurefinancials.co.uk