PYLE AND KENFIG ARE WELSH GOLF CLUB OF THE YEAR

Pyle and Kenfig has been recognised with the Golf Union of Wales Golf Club of the Year Award as they prepare to welcome some of the world's best senior players again this summer.

The Mid Glamorgan course will be a pre-qualifier for the Seniors British Open at Royal Porthcawl this summer, having earned plaudits from competitors in 2014, however there is much more to the club which helped them claim the prestigious title.

They were part of a very strong shortlist, which also included Bryn Meadows, Clyne, Lakeside, Garthmyl, former winners Langland Bay, Milford Haven and Pennard.

Pyle and Kenfig were shortlisted last year, with a lot of their ongoing initiatives helping them to earn the award as they came to fruition in 2016.

The last five years have seen one of the top courses in Wales become much more customer focussed, which has resulted in an increase of 65 new adult members across all categories, 47 new junior members almost half of whom were girls.

They also increased visitor fees by £10,000, invested £150,000 in the course, improved practice facilities, secured funding to develop a nine hole course, achieved the Golf Development Wales Junior GolfCert and delivered community outreach programmes.

The club's junior team won the Junior Inter Club Team Championship, while they co-hosted the Amateur Championship in 2016 and will host the Ladies British Open Amateur Championship this summer as well as the Senior Open qualifiers.

“It has been an incredible five years, almost a roller coaster ride because we were desperate,” admitted club captain Roger Parsons.

“We were really up against it, we offered a £399 membership just to get heads in the golf club, but what we found was that those golfing nomads came and a year later they went so we addressed the situation.

“We needed to do a lot of work first so we developed the driving range, the putting green and the practice area. We are building a nine hole golf course, we put a golf simulator in, improved the gents and ladies lockers rooms and generally have done the facade of the golf club.

“We improved everything so when people came there local clubs they felt it was something special, somewhere they would want to be a member.

“The golf course is playable 24/7, 365 days of the year, so we have attracted new members and we have tried to endear them to us with functions, loads of things going on there.

“The junior set up is amazing. A year ago we had around 10-12 and they were the basis of the Welsh junior club team being looked after and nurtured - but we had nobody behind them.

“We had to reduce the fees, but these kids are being brought up with the Pyle and Kenfig badge which means we have 80 kids now we are nurturing and coaching.

“This is an historic award for us, the first time we have ever had the recognition, it is an accolade we are proud and privileged to achieve as a golf club. I am just lucky as I happen to be the captain this year, but the committee and everyone has worked tirelessly.

“We will get our golf flags branded with Welsh Golf Club of the Year, everything we produce will include that, our website and so on, because we are so pleased.

“We came close the last two years, but this year we put in an extra special effort to achieve it and, yes, we are very proud.”

Bridgend's Lydia Hall claimed the Golf Union of Wales Tour Professional of the Year Award after making history as the first woman to beat the men in a British professional golf tournament.

Walker Cup hopeful David Boote won the Amateur of the Year Award, Parc's Joe Vickery was the PGA Professional of the Year, in an award ceremony at Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor sponsored by Future Financials.

Mold were the Junior Club of the Year and Cardigan's Julia Den Hartog the Volunteer of the Year.

“The Welsh golf awards are about so much more than just the professionals who represent Wales around the world, there is so much good work going on at golf clubs all around Wales,” said Golf Union of Wales chief executive Richard Dixon.

“Pyle and Kenfig are one of our traditional clubs with a big reputation, but they have gone through a considerable transformation both on and off the course.

“They have improved so much from the thriving junior section, the improved practice facilities, the nine hole course, the clubhouse and the course.

“They have turned round their membership numbers and shown what can be done.

“There is so much in Welsh golf to celebrate at the moment, a small nation punching above our weight, so it was great to have the opportunity to showcase that at former Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor.”

Posted on 8 March 2017 at 12:00

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