A record number of Welsh schoolchildren will get the chance to try golf as well as watching the best European players in action at the Wales Open this week.
There will also be the opportunity to meet Welsh star Rhys Davies, who has gone through the Golf Union of Wales system and won his first European Tour event this year, who will be pay a visit to the Golf Development Wales tent on Wednesday, the day of the Pro-Am.
Interest in the Golf Development Wales area in the tented village at Celtic Manor, funded by the European Tour, is the greatest it has ever been thanks to the increasing impact as we get closer to the Ryder Cup in October.
More than three hundred children from schools, golf clubs and community groups are already booked in for the Tri-Golf sessions, but it is free to try the facilities in the tented village aimed at Under 12’s so anyone can book in advance or just turn up on the day.
“There has definitely been more interest than ever before now that the Ryder Cup is only a few months away,” said Golf Union of Wales director of development Hannah Fitzpatrick.
“Even though it is during half-term week this year, teachers are giving up their time to come and see the Ryder Cup course and some of the best players in Europe – while giving the kids a chance to give golf a try. There are also parents and clubs bringing groups of children, but the tent is open for anyone to give golf a go – though the facilities are aimed at Under 12’s.
“Because it is during half-term we have promoted it to community groups as well as schools, there has been a great take-up from teachers, volunteers and parents giving up their time to bring people. Celtic Manor will be giving away free lessons after the Wales Open, so they will be there to promote that, while there will also be professionals from clubs in the area on hand to provide details of how people can take it further if they want to carry on playing.
“A lot of the development work we have done with Dragon Sport in primary schools has also helped the take-up be higher this year.”
Moroccan Open champion Davies will visit the tent the day before the Wales Open tees off to offer his support and meet some of the children.
“It is excellent that he is giving up some of his time,” said Fitzpatrick. “The aspiring golfers can look up to him and it is great to see someone who has come through the Golf Union of Wales structure giving something back so happily.”
For details of the GDW marquee in the tented village at the Wales Open, go to www.golfdevelopmentwales.org