Mid Wales

Ryder Cup's legacy benefits clubs in mid Wales

Ian Woosnam winning the 1991 US Masters
Image caption Ian Woosnam's first club has benefited from the legacy fund

As the world's best golfers prepare to fight it out for the Ryder Cup, some of the sport's minnows are already benefiting from its legacy.

A £2m fund set up to help golf's grassroots has supported 41 projects throughout Wales, many of them at small town and village clubs.

Among the courses in mid Wales to benefit is Ian Woosnam's first club at Llanymynech, near Welshpool, Powys.

It received £48,972 to open a six-hole course and covered driving bays.

The £2m Ryder Cup Wales Legacy Fund is provided by the Welsh Assembly Government, and is one of the commitments given in Wales' successful bid to host the event.

It is intended to help local authorities, schools and golf clubs develop publicly accessible facilities essential for encouraging players new to the game.

Among the benefactors is the 18-hole championship course at Borth and Ynyslas Golf Club, near Aberystwyth, thought to be one of the oldest in Wales. It won £35,000 for a new six-hole course.

Elsewhere, Welshpool Golf Club, in Powys, received more than £13,000 for a new practice area and junior tees, while £22,000 went to Machynlleth for a nine-hole short course.

A six-hole junior course and practice green has been built at St Idloes Golf Club in Llanidloes, while Aberystwyth Golf Club is benefiting from a new five-hole, par three course, and driving range.

Chairman of Borth and Ynyslas Golf Club, Bob Hughes-Jones said: "We received the money over the last two years, but applied for the money three years ago.

"The work on our short, six-hole course was finished in the summer, and replaces a practice ground.

"It's designed for all abilities, from young people and others starting the game, to players looking to develop their game.

"It's too early to say if the short course has increased our junior membership, but it's certainly popular with young players and holidaymakers visiting the club.

"It's certainly added another string to our bow."

The facilities at Borth and Ynyslas were opened by John Jermine, chairman of Ryder Cup Wales.

He said it was his desire to bring Wales into line alongside England, Ireland and Scotland as "must see" locations for golf.

Image caption A new driving range and six-hole course was opened in Llanymynech

Mr Jermine said: "The Americans and Japanese have been raised on a diet of the great courses in Scotland and England before heading to Ireland. Our aim is to convince those visitors to include Wales on their itineraries and it's starting to happen."

Llanymynech Golf Club, which has 15 holes in Wales and three in England, is US Masters winner Ian Woosnam's first club.

Speaking in May, Woosnam, a veteran of eight Ryder Cup teams and the winning captain in 2006, said: "This is great news for Llanymynech Golf Club, the club where I played as a boy.

"The 2010 Ryder Cup is one of biggest, most exciting and most prestigious sporting events ever to come to Wales and this new development will offer beginners an opportunity to take up the game and improve standards."

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