Ashburnham Golf Club has been given double reason to celebrate after being chosen to host two of the most prestigious amateur tournaments in Wales.
The Carmarthenshire course has beaten off competition from a strong list of contenders to be selected by the Golf Union of Wales (GUW) as a future venue for the Welsh Open Strokeplay Championship – the union’s flagship event – and the Home Internationals.
The 2009 GUW Welsh Open Strokeplay Championship will be played on Ashburnham’s famous links in two years’ time from 21-24 May while the club has also been awarded the privilege of staging the Home Internationals the following year from 9-13 August 2010.
V. Michael Jones, chairman of Ashburnham Golf Company Ltd and club captain for 2007, said, “This is a confirmation from the GUW that Ashburnham is rapidly again becoming one of the few top courses in Wales worthy of holding this level of championship.
“Our focus and investment on the quality and standard of the golf course is reaping reward and getting the recognition it duly deserves and we are all proud to have such a world-class sporting facility at our disposal in Carmarthenshire.”
Ashburnham is one of the oldest courses in Wales boasting an illustrious history since it was established in 1894, and has a reputation for attracting some of the most talented players in Europe.
The 6,910-yard layout in Burry Port near Llanelli has staged numerous R&A, Welsh PGA and international tournaments over the years while golfing legend Harry Vardon once said, “The course I like best in Wales is Ashburnham.”
Richard Dixon, chief executive of the Golf Union of Wales, said, “Ashburnham’s recent improvements and the club’s investment in a long-term strategy will ensure that the ‘Ash’ regains its place among Europe’s very best championship courses.
“The last time the Union’s flagship event, the Open Strokeplay, and prestigious Home Internationals were played they attracted players of the calibre of Donald, Casey, Howell, Harrington and Dredge. The 2009 and 2010 events will undoubtedly showcase future stars of a similar pedigree and an Ashburnham course back to its imperious best will provide a test worthy of their skills.”
The club has invested more than £100,000 over the last two years restoring the course back to its impressive best while, together with close neighbours Machynys and Pyle and Kenfig Golf Clubs, they are at the forefront of a new initiative ‘South Wales Championship Links Golf Breaks’ offering golfers the chance to play three of the finest links courses in Wales.
Ashburnham has also added the expertise of master greenkeeper Huw Morgan to their team as the club’s new course manager.
Morgan, who joined from Wildernesse Golf Club in Kent and is one of only 30 master greenkeepers in the country, added, “The course has always had the reputation as being among the top 100 courses in the UK and in the top five in Wales.
“The club has really stepped up a gear in terms of investment and resources allocated to the golf course, and with that wind beneath my wings, the team and I will be able to do the club proud when Europe’s finest amateur golfers come to Wales in 2009 and 2010.”