Sports Minister Richard Caborn made a special visit to Wales yesterday to find out how the venue for the 2010 Ryder Cup is delivering on a promise to sweep away sexism and elitism in golf.
At an event at The Celtic Manor Resort Golf School Mr Caborn met girls and boys benefiting from an ambitious junior coaching scheme. He formally launched the 2002 Coca-Cola junior development programme, organised by Celtic Manor, which will see hundreds of youngsters taking part in coaching events and tournaments throughout the year.
With Welsh Sports Minister, Jenny Randerson, he also launched the Wales summer festival of golf, a series of high profile tournaments, including The Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open and three major amateur championships.
Mr Caborn said he was on a fact-finding mission before meeting the national governing bodies of golf to talk about the future of the game for young people in Britain. “I’ve heard a lot about the work going on in Wales and particularly at Celtic Manor, and I thought I would find out more for myself,” he said. “The Government would like to see golf become a people’s game, and we need to learn from programmes that are reaching out to juniors and introducing them to the sport.”
The 2002 Celtic Manor Resort Coca-Cola junior development programme comprises a series of coaching events and tournaments and is entering its second year after attracting 500 young people in 2001.
Schoolchildren are provided with expert tuition from the resort’s team of professionals and take part in a series of three tournaments aimed at finding the best junior golfer in the region. The Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open includes a game improvement area for juniors on the practice ground during the event.
The 2002 summer festival of golf features three professional and three amateur competitions – including the two most prestigious amateur events in Europe, the Amateur Championship and the Ladies British Open.
The professional competitions are The Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open, the Wales Seniors Open – the joint most lucrative event on the European Seniors Tour – and The Wales WPGA Championship of Europe, part of the Evian Ladies European Tour.
Announcing the events Welsh Minister of Sport, Jenny Randerson, said they represented the full spectrum of the sport – male and female; professional and amateur; young and old, including the fast developing Seniors Tour.
“We must build on this interest and maximise the golfing legacy of our bringing the Ryder Cup to Wales,” she added. “Securing the Ryder Cup for Wales was a private -public sector partnership. Development of golf in Wales requires a similar partnership. That is why I am so pleased to see the launch of the Celtic Manor programme here today.”
Prior to the launch, Mr Caborn played Wentwood Hills, the venue of the 2010 Ryder Cup, accompanied by European Ryder Cup Director Richard Hills, PGA Chief Executive Sandy Jones and former Ryder Cup captain Brian Huggett. He was also given a briefing by Wales Open Tournament Chairman Andy Stanton on changes to be made to the course specifically for the Ryder Cup.
Also present were representatives from the Wales Tourist Board, Welsh Development Agency, Sports Council for Wales, Welsh Golfing Union, Welsh Ladies Golf Union and Newport County Borough Council.
The Celtic Manor Resort www.celtic-manor.com