Former Ryder Cup Wales chief executive Rob Holt is to become the new chairman of Golf Development Wales.
The appointment means the experience and contacts gained from hosting the Ryder Cup in Wales will continue to benefit Welsh golf, along with former Ryder Cup Wales chairman John Jermine filling the same role at the Golf Union of Wales.
Holt, aged 48, made a huge impact on Welsh golf as the spearhead of Ryder Cup Wales which helped fund many of the facilities and development schemes that are run through Golf Development Wales.
GDW has helped transform the landscape of Welsh golf, with around 180,000 people being introduced to the game through one of their schemes.
Since 2002 more than 5,000 coaches, volunteers and referees have been trained or upskilled, there are more than 40 new or improved beginner golf facilities around Wales and five new Regional Centres of Excellence, spread around Wales.
“I enjoyed my eight years involved with Ryder Cup Wales enormously, working with all the partners acrossWalesincluding the Golf Union of Wales,” said Holt, awarded an OBE for services to golf following the Ryder Cup.
“I got so much out of it and wanted to give something back so when I was approached I said ‘yes’ straightaway. I believe Golf Development Wales is one of the strongest development arms of any governing body. The legacy from the Ryder Cup is there, but it is a matter of continuing to protect that legacy and ensure the sport continues to grow.
“Hopefully the contacts I have made through Ryder Cup Wales will help, but I know I have a really tough act to follow in Andy Morgan with his 41 years of being involved with Welsh golf.
“It is a compliment to the sport and everyone involved in it that golf becomes a passion that you can pick up when you are young and sustain for many years.
“One of the reasons Golf Development Wales is so important is getting to youngsters and increasing participation, so they can take golf through their lives but it is tough out there, there is a lot of competition from other sports and other forms of entertainment as well as the economic situation.
“Golf club membership can be something that is cut as belts are tightened but there remains great enthusiasm following the Ryder Cup and the Golf Development Wales team led by Hannah Fitzpatrick have done a great job in developing and maintaining momentum.
“These are still exciting times for Welsh golf, we have the Wales Open at Celtic Manor at least until 2014, the Wales Seniors is back on the map this year, with Woosie and co at Conwy in August and we will, for the first time , have one of the Majors with the Seniors British Open at Royal Porthcawl in 2014.
“That will see the likes of Tom Watson, Greg Norman, Jose-Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie playing on one of the most prestigious links courses inEurope.
“It is important to ensure that the legacy of the Ryder Cup gathers further momentum. Even if it were not for this role, I would still look in on those clubs who have had Ryder Cup Wales funding to see how they are getting on.
“It was great to be invited to the Golf Union of Wales awards last December and see the Club Professional of the Year from Rhondda Golf Club, while their lead volunteer had just been recognised nationally by the BBC.
“That could not have happened without the investment in facilities atRhonddafrom Ryder Cup Wales. Now it is Golf Development Wales that is the way of giving back to the clubs ofWales.”
Golf Union of Wales chairman John Jermine had a close working relationship with Holt through his previous role with Ryder Cup Wales and he welcomed the appointment.
“After working with Rob for 10 years at Ryder Cup Wales I was in no doubt that he would be the ideal successor to Andy Morgan and was delighted when he accepted the board’s invitation to Chair Golf Development Wales,” said Jermine.
“Rob built a hugely talented and successful team at RCW and under his leadership. I am sure that our own team, of whom we are all very proud, will continue to innovate and set the benchmarks for attracting new people to the game and establishing golf inWalesas a sport for all.
“Personally I am so pleased that we can continue to work together as, like Andy, he has become a good friend for whom I have the highest regard”
Golf Development Wales www.golfdevelopmentwales.org