9 Oct 2008

Wrexham’s Clays Golf Centre has been awarded the status of North East Wales Centre of Excellence, after a National Lottery cash injection from the Sports Council for Wales.

Funding to the tune of £284,000 has heralded a major make over of facilities including a 20-bay upgraded driving range, an indoor putting green and a short game practice area. The development is part of the Golf Union of Wales’ national and regional facility plan Making a Move.

The North Wales club joins fellow centres of excellence which are to be established at Machynys Peninsula in South West Wales, Llangefni in North West Wales and the Vale of Glamorgan in South East Wales and takes total facility investment to £1million. The centre will now be included in the North Wales Institute of Sport’s network of facilities that support talented emerging sports people across North Wales.*

Clays Golf Centre was chosen as the venue for the Regional Centre of Excellence for players based in North East Wales. The facility will be used as an all year round venue for squad sessions and as a facility that will help increase the number of young people participating in the game of golf. Testament to that commitment was last month’s world record golf lesson, that saw 802 children from Wrexham schools, converge on the renovated Clays driving range to swing themselves into the record books.

Steve Williams, Clays Golf Centre Manager said,

"After such an exciting Ryder Cup it is quite fitting that the competition should next come to Wales. For the last few years the partnerships between the Sports Council for Wales, Golf Union of Wales, Golf Development Wales and the individual venue providers have been instrumental in improving Wales’ golfing facilities to an international standard.

"At Clays we are developing our academy over the next few years to be able to provide Wales with the stars of the future; firstly via county then international level, then maybe a European tour player. You never know, we might one day get a Ryder Cup player who honed his skills with the benefit of the 2010 Ryder Cup Legacy."

Golf Development Officer Dilwyn Griffiths, from Golf Development Wales said,

"Welsh golf has made great strides in recent years and we are continuing with our work to further improve the standard in Wales. This is not only about nurturing and supporting our elite and emerging players, but opening up the game to everyone by offering low-cost opportunities for everyone to enjoy the game.

"The Clays Golf Club development is a great example of how we can achieve this. By providing facilities which serve to improve standards at both ends of the game we will ensure that Welsh golf remains a formidable force."

Chair of the Sports Council for Wales Philip Carling said,

"The future of golf in Wales looks bright as encouraging new initiatives such as this herald exciting times ahead. Wales already punches well above its weight in the professional ranks and it is through high quality facilities such as the Clays Centre of Excellence that we hope to provide the very best framework to support the next generation of amateur and elite golfers.

"The first ever staging of the Ryder Cup in Wales at The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport in 2010 will potentially inspire many new golfers to take up the sport in Wales. And with more than 200 courses at 185 locations across the principality, Wales is in a strong position to cater for the demand, ensuring that as many people as possible have the opportunity to enjoy the game."