More than 1,000 people tried the Golf Skills Cymru Challenge at the ISPS Handa Wales Open, including some of the top Welsh professionals and amateurs as well as 600 children from disability groups, community groups, golf clubs and schools.
Even First Minister Carwyn Jones had a go, but despite all the top talent matching themselves against a series of simple golfing tests it was Prestatyn’s Arron Williams who came out on top.
The 1 Handicapper managed a score of 72 points, Walker Cup star Rhys Pugh got 71, European Tour professional Rhys Davies 68, while the value of the event for golfers of all standards was shown by 27 handicapper Jonathan Sheeran from Caerleon who scored an excellent 69, as well as several beginners who managed to get onto the leaderboard.
The success of the challenges at the Wales Open shows the value of Golf Skills Cymru in developing the game in a fun way for all ages and levels of experience, with a campaign to increase the number of Welsh golf clubs who can run the tests.
There are now 25 clubs and community facilities registered to use and organise local skills challenges and the number is growing. To register and to receive the golf skills cymru resource pack to organize and promote local skills challenges contact Golf Development Wales – firstname.lastname@example.org
“It was great to see the success of the challenges at the Wales Open, now the aim is to spread them as widely round Welsh clubs and community facilities as possible for more people to try to get onto the All-Wales leaderboard – or just have a bit of golfing fun,” said Golf Union of Wales director of development, Hannah Fitzpatrick.
“Thanks too to all the top players who had a go, such as Rhys Davies, Rhys Pugh, Rhys Enoch, Jason Shufflebotham and Ben Westgate, as well as the First Minister of course. There were 40 organised groups with around 600 children.
“Golf Skills Cymru is an ‘off-the-course’ challenge, with fun skills tests that anyone can try. It has an interactive website, with challenges demonstrated through video clips by Welsh pro Sion Bebb, and all scores can be inputted online onto a National Skills Challenge leaderboard. Anyone can have a go, anytime, during the week.”
There was tremendous reaction from all roundWales, such as Radyr in Cardiff, Carmarthen and Tenby.
“Our guys really enjoyed it,” commented Julie Geysen-Holley, key worker at Y Pant school near Pontyclun. “Walking around the course was great and they especially loved the activity centre and the long putt – raising money for charity. When we left one of our boys was coming second on the leaderboard in the activity stand, so he is really excited.”
Golf Skills Cymru is supported by the European Tour, who helped to provide the facilities in the tented village at Celtic Manor. The European Tour also funded a local disability project linked to the Wales Open.
This involved children from a local special education school, Maes Ebbw, having golf coaching in school and at the Ryder Cup Legacy Fund facility at Caerleon Golf Club.
There is also a festival arranged, equipment provided and training for the teachers so the project is sustainable in the school. This project is the first disability group to register to run Local Skills Challenges utilizing the Skills Challenge Cymru resource and interactive website.
The Golf Union of Wales www.golfunionwales.org
Golf Development Wales www.golfdevelopmentwales.org