Ryder Cup Wales chairman John Jermine is to take over in a similar role at the Golf Union of Wales next year, a move that will ensure continuity in taking the game forward. Current chairman Louise Fleet will become the first female president of the GUW when her fixed term ends next March, after four years in the role successfully launching the merged men’s and ladies Unions.
With Ryder Cup Wales due to finish in the same month, the move is perfectly timed as Welsh golf looks to continue to build on the massive progress made in the last few years.
The Ryder Cup was such a huge success and with a staggering increase in the numbers playing golf and plenty of new golfing facilities round Wales thanks to the Legacy Fund, but the next challenge for both Jermine and Fleet is to see membership of clubs bucking the national trend and start rising.
“I am looking forward to it. I have had seven marvellous years with Ryder Cup Wales which was capped by Ryder Cup week which went about as well as I could have hoped for it to go,” said Jermine.
“The Legacy Fund is more or less completed with more than 40 new facilities around Wales and more than 100,000 people introduced to the game of golf.
“The big challenge now is to convert those new players into members of clubs and to ensure those clubs go from strength to strength. A lot of clubs have done very well out of the Ryder Cup with golf tourism more than doubling, some clubs have had a spectacular rise in green fees, so we have to keep that going.
“We are a merged Union so we need more women members and more juniors who will become the lifeblood going forward. Golf Development Wales have done a spectacularly good job as part of the Golf Union of Wales.
“We have a good coaching structure in place as well, so we need to reinforce that to produce the next Rhys Davies. The women have done very well recently, but we are also looking for a another guy who wins on the international stage.
“There is a very good team at the Union led by Richard Dixon, with Nigel Edwards in charge of coaching, Hannah Fitzpatrick in golf development and Liz Edwards running the championships, I am looking forward to working with them.
“I am also delighted that Louise Fleet will still be involved and is moving up to president. She has been a marvellous director of Ryder Cup Wales and chairman of the merged Union so there will be a lot of continuity there.”
Jermine, a former chartered accountant with plenty of business experience as well as being one of Wales’ most successful amateur golfers over the last few decades, will take over from Fleet who became the first chairman of the merged Golf Union of Wales.
“I have had a really good four years and I am looking forward to having a new kind of role that will be rewarding in a different way,” said Fleet. “I will get to more golfing events and see more golf, which will be nice, and I will still be on the GUW Board. We have come a long way in the last four years and hopefully I have played a part in that.
“Merging the two Unions was part of the Ryder Cup bid and we had to overcome barriers and concerns, but once the decision was taken the merged body has taken enormous strides forward for both men and women.
“A single Union has been able to take advantage of the Ryder Cup in a way that two Unions would not have been able to.
“The Ryder Cup was such a tremendous event and raised the profile of golf in Wales, now we have got to build on that and focus on encouraging people to become members of clubs.
“The Ryder Cup has stimulated interest, now we want to see people becoming a permanent part of that through club membership to sustain it going forward. The Golf Union of Wales will have an even bigger role in that and so it will be good to have John’s expertise and experience having been in a prime position with Ryder Cup Wales.”
Golf Union of Wales www.golfunionwales.org