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Golf Today > Amateur Golf > 2009 > News, Features & Events

Clays collect national award
31st May 2009

World record-breaking Clays golf club near Wrexham have won a national award for the work they do developing children's golf in North Wales.

Clays Award

They received the Golf Foundation Critchley Award for their partnership work with Wrexham Council and Golf Development Wales, which has seen the club attract around 250 juniors for weekly coaching and playing.

Golf centre manager Steve Williams said, “Everyone is very pleased with getting the award and also the higher level of accreditation for junior coaching through Golf Development Wales.

“These things do mean a lot to the staff and helps with high morale to do things the right way.

“It also helps to get more people involved in the game of golf because awards like this show we are very professional in how we do business.

“Mums and Dads know they can send their children to us, then they will be professionally coached and encouraged to play golf.

“The Golf Union of Wales has been paramount in helping us to achieve such high standards and we try to adhere to those.”

The Critchley Award was for all the work in a year that saw Clays break the world record for the number of children involved in a single junior coaching session.

The superb facilities at the club have been developed with the help of the Sports Council for Wales, whose chairman Phil Carling said, “Clays Golf Centre fully deserves the recognition for their commitment to junior golf in North Wales.

Clays  Wales

“This is yet another accolade for the club which is also a Centre of Excellence. This means that, through Sports Council investment, it now has the facilities to serve as a training base for the region's golf talents.”

Williams, whose father Wyn collected the award from Golf Foundation president Ken Schofield along with Wrexham Council's Myra Redman and Golf Development Wales's North Wales officer Dilwyn Griffiths, is understandably proud of the club's achievements.

“We felt there was a huge void in the number of clubs really looking to the future of golf,” said Steve Williams.

“I believe young golfers will become old golfers. We started some taster sessions for youngsters which became more popular.

“Now we have around 250 children in our coaching programmes on a weekly basis, with a target of 500 which I am sure we will achieve.

“Through Golf Development Wales we were able to go out to schools and leisure centres, then we got some funding which was doubled by SportsMatch so the package is now phenomenal value.

“Golf can be an expensive game, but we have made it one of the cheapest activities around, including some professional coaching. For instance it costs £20 a year for junior membership of our par three course.

“Hopefully in years to come we will see someone come through and go onto to be a European Tour player – or even a Ryder cup player.

“This is improving the strength of our junior membership, but also our best team and every other aspect of the club.

“We have relaxed some of the rules so they can play on the par three course in jeans and trainers, but we are very strong on the etiquette of the game.

“We aim to make our golf club inclusive rather than exclusive, so we have tried to pioneer change.”

One of the next developments at the forward thinking club is to have specific junior tees, two sets to cater for all levels of golf, potentially with adjusted par scores to encourage more children to play.

Clays may have achieved national recognition for their work, but they are determined to carry on pushing the boundaries of Welsh golf.



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