Ian Woosnam, Welsh ambassador in the run-up to The 2010 Ryder Cup, was among the winners at the Ryder Cup Wales annual gala dinner and awards, sponsored by CCV in conjunction with the Golf Union of Wales, recently held at The Vale Hotel, Golf and Spa Resort.
The evening’s highlights included a ‘Woosie’ question-and-answer session, hosted by Ieuan Evans, during which the victorious 2006 Ryder Cup captain shared stories from his phenomenal career and his thoughts on 2010 and the future prospects for Welsh golf.
Woosnam was named Tour Professional of the Year for his achievements in 2008, which included winning the Parkridge Polish Seniors Championship and the Russian Seniors Open, as well as making the cut in the US Masters.
He was also runner-up in the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open and Casa Serena Seniors Open, and is currently the leader of the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit.
Presenting Woosnam with his award, John Jermine, Chairman of Ryder Cup Wales, said: “As the next host to The Ryder Cup, we are working hard to build our international profile and in establishing Wales as a must-visit golfing destination, offering great courses and the best value for money in Europe.
“The Golf Union of Wales is highly motivated to attract new players to our wonderful game and to improve the golfing standards of players and clubs throughout Wales. The winners of the awards, sponsored by CCV, are great role models for the rest of Wales.”
Twenty-year-old Breanne Loucks, of Wrexham, was named Amateur Player of the Year. Breanne’s coach, Paul Williams, received the award on her behalf as she was in Australia, representing Wales in the World Amateur Team Championship.
Breanne’s achievements this year included winning the South African Ladies Stroke Play and Match Play Championships, the Irish Ladies Open Amateur Championship, and the Welsh Ladies Order of Merit title. She was a member of the Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup team for the second time and a member of the Welsh Ladies team which won the Home Internationals.
Golf Club of the Year was awarded to Aberdovey, which has made tremendous improvements with new IT systems, and other developments including significant improvements to the course, which have kept the club in the UK’s top 50 courses.
The club has also secured a Ryder Cup Wales Legacy Fund grant to transform a little-used snooker room into an indoor practice centre for juniors and beginners, and is now constructing a short game practice area. It is also working with the Countryside Council for Wales and the Sports Turf Research Institute on a study which will help promote the ecological benefits of golf courses located on Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
Darren Griffiths of Glyn Abbey Golf Club was named Golf Development Wales (GDW) Professional of the Year as an excellent example of a PGA professional who understands the benefits of doing fundamental work at grass roots level.
He mixes his commitments at beginner level with elite individual coaching making him a true asset to Welsh golf. His accomplishments include: mentoring a PGA Level 2 volunteer coach to help recruit and coach new juniors; running two 5×60 beginner clubs with that PGA Level 2 volunteer; coaching the Welsh Special Olympics golf squad; running a Dragon Golf Starter Centre; helping GDW to pilot the new golf resources for Key Stage 3 of the National Curriculum; acting as a consultant on the GDW Guide to Clubs on Junior Golf CD-ROM; and being one of the GUW / PGA nominated coaches for the ground-breaking PGA Level 4 qualification.
First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, who was present at the annual awards dinner, said: “I would like to congratulate all four winners on their achievements at these awards and in realising that quality is key to success. The eyes of the world will be on Wales in 2010 and a huge amount of work is being done to ensure that not only The Celtic Manor Resort, but Wales as a whole, is ready to host this great sporting contest.”
Ryder Cup Wales www.rydercupwales2010.com