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Ellen lands new Welsh golf role

Created on 30/08/2010 @ 08:13
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Enthusiastic Llanfair Caereinion golfer Ellen Jones has been given the task of ensuring the Ryder Cup Wales legacy will succeed in changing the landscape of Welsh golf for a generation.

While £2million has been pumped into improving golf facilities all round Wales , Welshpool Golf Club member Jones has just started as the new Golf Union of Wales Legacy Fund Officer to ensure that all those developments continue to thrive at full efficiency to make a real impact for years to come.

With 41 improved beginner and practice facilities all round Wales to supervise it is lucky Jones and her family are all golf enthusiasts, as she celebrates getting her handicap into single figures at Welshpool.

Her role is to check all the new facilities and work with those clubs and communities to ensure they are properly managed and used to have the maximum benefit for Welsh golf.

It would have been easy to throw money at Welsh golf in the build up to the Ryder Cup and then have no guarantee if the cash was well spent or not. Jones is there to make sure that does not happen.

“I am loving it, really enjoying the new role,” said nine handicapper Jones, who worked in local authority sports development in Powys before taking up her new role.

“I have 41 newly created Ryder Cup Wales Legacy Fund facilities at 39 different clubs and venues so my role is to make sure their maximum potential is utilised correctly to encourage more people into golf.

“It would have been easy to pump the money into the clubs without monitoring whether they are being used and promoted in the right way, so I am working with the clubs to make sure that happens.

“Golf can be a daunting sport to start, going onto a full course is quite an off-putting experience for some people, but these new facilities right across Wales can bridge that gap.

“They will offer the opportunity for the general public to give it a try without being intimidated on the full course, or by a club's membership structure and the etiquette.

“The clubs are really thrilled to have these facilities, they have a lot of really good ideas on how to take them forward and excellent plans on how to widen the appeal to the general public in their areas by making sure people know they are there.”

More than half the new facilities are already open while the rest are scheduled to be finished before the Ryder Cup starts in October at Celtic Manor.

Jones will not just be checking the facilities are well used and managed, but also ensuring that they work together to cover all the target areas for Welsh golf.

“We will monitor the facilities to make sure they have the right participation rates in key demographic areas such as beginners, juniors, ladies and men. We need to make sure we are not missing anyone out,” explained 36-year-old Jones.

“We will be meeting with the clubs at least every 12 months to map out a very detailed business plan.

“Clubs are aware that membership is down and so they realise they have to work at getting members – they welcome the support on the marketing a business side that they are getting through such schemes as Securing the Future from Golf Development Wales. That is a very valuable resource for the clubs.

“I will also be encouraging clubs to work together so they can achieve certain targets between them.”

The Ryder Cup Wales Legacy Fund has had a huge impact on Welsh golf facilities, now it is up to Jones to make sure clubs build on that good work.


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