More than 50 girl golfers helped former ISPS HANDA British Masters champion Lydia Hall to launch the Golf Development Wales “Girls Golf Hubs” project across Wales.
Special events were held at two of the six assigned Golf Hub clubs. as part of a national drive to take girls golf development to another level and increase membership by 50%. The six clubs are Bryn Meadows, Pyle and Kenfig, Builth Wells, Milford Haven, Mold and Abergele.
Hall and Wales amateur international Georgia Lewis kicked it all off at Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club, in South Wales, in an event attended by 43 girls from across Wales.
In North Wales, Mold Golf Club Professional Craig Tudor delivered a fun coaching clinic with existing junior girls members who were excellent role-models and able to interact with the group.
The 2016 GDW Girls Clinic at Pyle and Kenfig, co-host venue of The 121st Amateur Championship, was used as the springboard for this new initiative where GDW aim to see 50 girls engaged in club golf, at six separate clubs, over the next three years.
The event has built on the success of the first GDW Girls Clinics in 2015, which saw Amy Boulden, Ladies European Tour Rookie of the Year in 2014, inspire around 100 girls to take their golf to the next level.
Since its inception, the GDW Girls Clinics have seen almost 150 girls feel the inspirational effects of female role models at Conwy, Carmarthen and Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club’s.
The annual occasion looks to use inspirational role models such as Amy, Lydia and Georgia to inspire girls to take up, continue with or improve their golf, in an event that is open to any level of player.
Chris Emsley, community golf development coordinator, was encouraged by the attendance and enthusiasm, commenting, “Engaging and sustaining girls participation is a hurdle that many sports have to face, therefore GDW are looking at less conventional means of attracting girls as part of the Girls Golf Hubs.
“The energy at the club with 50 enthusiastic young girls enjoying playing somewhere new and with friends was fantastic.
“By introducing things not normally expected within a golf club environment, there is more potential to attract girls. Many other sports have seen success by attaching health and beauty or dance to their traditional game, so why not golf?”
“One of this year’s six hubs, Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club, are looking to introduce a free lip balm to each girl that joins in at the club.
“The facilities will offer fun, low-cost beginner coaching, regular progressive playing opportunities and social events which may include beauty and fashion.
“Research and feedback has shown that it is much more difficult to recruit girls from a standing start, compared to when you already have a small number, so the social aspect in girls’ participation in golf is vital.”
Golf Development Wales hopes that by introducing alternative aspects to these junior girls sections, then more girls will be retained, making it easier to recruit more.
“The Girls Clinic has been the springboard for girls golf for the previous two seasons, with Amy inspiring many of last year’s girls on to success at their own clubs and even further afield,” said Emsley.
“As well as national role models such as Amy, Lydia and Georgia, club role models are even more important. Claire Morris at Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club has been instrumental in the club achieving Junior GolfCert and is crucial to the girls’ development at the club.
“We need more female role models at club level, so girls can relate to them and continue in the sport.”
Claire Morris, Pyle and Kenfig Girls Junior Leader, added, “We are proud as a club to host the Golf Development Wales Girls Clinic.
“We now have twenty five junior girl members and for them to rub shoulders with the likes of Lydia Hall – a European Tour player- is absolutely fantastic and an experience they will never forget.
“Pyle and Kenfig has been chosen as a Welsh Girls Golf Hub and I am excited about the future, especially with the news that the club will be constructing a 9 Hole Beginner/Junior course later on this year to enhance and develop junior golf for many years to come”
Pyle and Kenfig general manager Simon Hopkin commented, “I would like to personally thank Golf Development Wales (GDW) for organising such a professional event.
“Pyle and Kenfig is an extremely proactive and forward thinking club when it comes to junior golf and to forge a strong partnership with GDW can only develop the game of golf in Wales.
“We will be co-hosting the 121st Amateur Championship in 2016 and hosting the Ladies British Amateur Championship in 2017 where all the top amateurs in the world both men and ladies will be competing on our famous championship links.
“Again this will be a great opportunity for all junior golfers in Wales to come and see some of the stars of the future, maybe future Major winners, up close and personal.”
Addie Francis, aged 11, of Newport (Gwent) Golf Club and Monmouthshire Golf Club, was one of those who had a fantastic day out at Pyle and Kenfig.
“It’s been such a brilliant day,” she said. “I’ve learnt so much from Lydia and Georgia. To listen to their success stories is really inspiring and I’m going to be practising as much as possible to improve my game.
“I love everything about the game, I play a lot of other sports also which I feel helps with my golf and today has been really good fun with all the other girls who’ve traveled from their own clubs.”
The PGA caught up with Lydia Hall during a ladies’ golf session she had organised at Hensol Golf academy: