Ben Waterhouse is to move from English rugby to take over the top job in charge of theWalesgolf teams, filling the shoes of Walker Cup captain Nigel Edwards.
Waterhouse will take over as the Director of Performance for the Golf Union of Wales at the beginning of February, looking to build on the work started by Edwards who is moving the other way across theSevernBridgeto the English Golf Union.
The 34-year-old Waterhouse works for the Rugby Football Union, based at Worcester Warriors, and has been involved in sports development all his career. He is a social golfer who will be putting the structures and systems in place for the likes of national mens and ladies coaches Neil Matthews and Jeremy Bennett to provide the technical expertise.
Waterhouse comes into the role at a time when there is a great amount of talent coming through the system, spearheaded by Walker Cup hero Rhys Pugh and Junior Solheim Cup star Amy Boulden.
“I am really looking forward to this role,” he said. “I am hugely excited to be working for the Golf Union of Wales, maintaining everything Nigel has done while putting my stamp on it going forward.
“At the RFU I tried to surround myself with good people who are experts in their own field – so that is how it will work with Neil, Jeremy and all the other coaches with the expertise. I will let them do their job while I can come up with some other ideas to support and enhance what they can offer.
“Nigel has obviously done a lot right or he would not have been so highly regarded, but there are always things that a new person can look at. I hope it is a good thing that I am different, I am not a golfer in the same way, so hopefully I can bring something new to the table.
“I met Rhys Pugh before Christmas and I will be meeting up with the Mens and Ladies squads in February and March. It is always refreshing to to meet those players with so much potential, who can go such a long way in the game.”
The appointment has been welcomed in Welsh golf, as Waterhouse prepares to take over the management of theWalesamateur golf coaching structure and teams from junior levels, through to the main Wales Mens and Ladies teams that compete on the world stage, as well as seniors level.
“We were never going to be able to replace Nigel directly, so we wanted someone who could come into the role with a wealth of knowledge in sports development and creating structures to help elite sports people,” explained Golf Union of Wales chief executive Richard Dixon.
“Ben comes in with that sports development experience, most recently in English rugby, he is knowledgeable, enthusiastic and he ticks so many of the boxes for what we were looking for.
“He wants to carry on the good work which has been done, rather than change things for the sake of it, which was very important to us because we feel Welsh golf is moving to a pretty good place for a small nation – though we will always strive to be better.
“We are sorry to see Nigel go, but we wish him all the best with the English Golf Union and his ongoing role as captain of the Walker Cup team while we also look forward in terms of the development of elite golfers inWales.”
Waterhouse did a sports degree inBedfordbefore moving toSurreyas a sports development officer, then working for the RFU for the last eight years.
“I always wanted to make sport my career, but realised that would be best done on the sports development side,” he said. “I have always wanted to stay in jobs long enough to see that development work coming to fruition.
“I have always enjoyed working at all levels from the grass roots all the way through to the elite end and I am looking forward to working closely with Golf Development Wales as well.
“I am hoping that the skill set I have will allow me to make the role a success and we will be working on a high performance plan for the short, medium and long term futures, putting targets in place.
“I have just begun golf lessons to improve my own playing standard – but at least this new job made it easy for people to get me Christmas presents, from an idiot’s guide to golf to some interesting jumpers.”
Golf Union of Wales website www.golfunionwales.org
Golf Development Wales www.golfdevelopmentwales.org