Anglessey’s leading young golfers are given a clinic at the launch of Wales’ Summer of Golf programme at Bull Bay Golf Club.
Ryder Cup Wales 2010 taking the bull by the horns
The 2010 Ryder Cup may be taking place in the deep south of Wales, but the spin-off from golf's greatest team event can be felt in the most northerly tip of the country.
Bull Bay Golf Club, on the scenic Isle of Anglesey and the most northerly course in Wales, has just launched Ryder Cup Wales's 2009 Summer of Golf programme by again hosting a high profile event for the country's young professional stars of the future.
The Ryder Cup Wales Welsh Open Young Professional PGA Championship was, for the second successive year, a huge success with Yorkshire's Alex Belt kick-starting his season in style with a tense victory.
The 23 year old Bridlington Links professional sank a 15 foot birdie putt in a play-off against Hindhead's Ben Clayton after the pair tied at level par 140 after a regulation 36 holes over Anglesey's challenging Bull Bay course. Belt secured a payout of £1,800 and also earned an invite to play in the SWALEC Wales European Challenge Tour event in July.
Golf tourism on the Island of Anglesey – the constituency of Welsh Assembly Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones – can enjoy increased benefits of The 2010 Ryder Cup at The Celtic Manor Resort by bringing Anglesey to the forefront of Welsh golfing destinations.
Hotels, guesthouses, cottages and caravan and camp sites already benefit from having no less than nine quality courses on the island with four 18 hole and five nine hole – all with stunning views of the Snowdonia mountain range.
Additionally, Golf Development Wales, a strategic partnership between the Golf Union of Wales, the Golf Foundation and the Sports Council for Wales, established as a result of Wales' successful Ryder Cup bid, are currently constructing a centre of excellence on the Isle, clearly demonstrating the effects of The Ryder Cup spreading all the way to the most northerly parts of the event''s host country.
The 2010 Ryder Cup Wales Welsh Open Young Professional PGA Championship is an important endorsement of the young PGA professionals in Wales and brings together Ryder Cup Wales and the Isle of Anglesey County Council in a two-pronged collaboration to promote an area of stunning natural beauty.
Meanwhile, Anglesey's leading junior golfers were given some match-winning tips from two PGA professionals aiming for their own slice of success at the Ryder Cup Wales 2010 Welsh Open Young PGA Professional Championship.
Porthmadog-born pro Gareth Jones and Abergele assistant Stuart Runcie put a number of Anglesey's County squad through their paces with a selection of chipping and putting exercises in a special Champions Clinic at Bull Bay. The Clinic, organised by Golf Development Wales, was a prelude to the 36-hole tournament.
Jones, based at Cheshire's Sandiway golf club, was impressed with the quality of the young players, who are benefiting from a significant financial injection from local businesses and Anglesey County Council, which has received funding via the Ryder Cup Wales Legacy Fund.
"The boys were fantastic as was the whole session," said Jones. "The chipping and putting games are so simple but incredibly effective and are something all levels of golfer can use to sharpen their game.The lads grasped what we were doing and the feedback from them was brilliant."
County squad Sponsor Dean Warriner, of Warriner's Estate Agents in Bangor, who has been supporting the squad for four years, believes the finance has had a significant impact on raising the standards for the team.
"I've noticed a tremendous improvement from grass roots level all the way through to elite level," he said. "At the moment these are very exciting times on Anglesey in terms of what happening."
That was also in evidence at Bull Bay as more than 30 schoolchildren from Ysgol Gynradd Amlwch competed over a nine-hole mini course, complete with bunkers, water hazards and trees all on the lower half of the 18th hole.
The youngsters, who braved the elements, were watched by Anglesey County Council's Head of Leisure Services Aled Roberts and Principal Sports Development officer Sian Mai Jones, who are keen to see the sport flourish on the island with the help of The Ryder Cup grant.
"Events like this are a great opportunity for kids to be introduced to the sport," said Jones. "But with nine courses on the island we have the infrastructure for them to move up and fulfil their potential in the sport. Golf is a growing sport on the island and we have grants to link up with local primary schools."
Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones, said: "I am delighted to officially launch The Ryder Cup Wales 'Summer of Golf' programme of events, which provide an excellent opportunity to showcase some of our most spectacular courses.
"The first event in the summer schedule has seen the very best young talent we have here in Wales who are eager to make it into the top rankings to gain a place on the Challenge and European Tours.
"The tournament has provided them with a great opportunity to experience professional, competitive golf and I wish them all every success in the future."
John Jermine, Chairman of Ryder Cup Wales, said: "Ryder Cup Wales has been delighted to work with the PGA to bring the best young golfers in the UK to Anglesey and all of us have enjoyed watching some wonderful golf, at Bull Bay, on one of our hidden gems."