Merthyr Tydfil’s oldest golf club has launched an academy with the aim of attracting more female and junior players to the sport.
Over £30,000 has been invested in creating a three-hole academy course at Morlais Castle Golf Club, linking it to a governing body initiative for beginners across Wales.
People signing up to Golf Wales’s New2Golf programme will enjoy group coaching led by Morlais Castle Club Professional and ex-European Tour pro Sion Bebb.
The official launch of the academy is also part of a Family Golf Day which includes a New2Golf family session and lessons for children with additional needs. Funding from Golf Wales is allowing the club to provide weekly sessions for four groups of eight juniors and ladies for an affordable one-off fee. That money will then fund a new batch of sessions when the first six-week course ends.
“The economic assistance from Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council has helped the club to continue to offer superb sporting, recreational and tourism facilities to the people of Merthyr Tydfil and South Wales,” said Morlais Castle Club Captain Colin Butler.
“The Valleys is a deprived area and historically, golf has been perceived as being an elitist sport for the few. Our aim is to open it up to the wider community and make the golf club a truly inclusive resource for everyone.”
Council Leader Cllr Kevin O’Neill said the authority had secured a substantial amount of investment to develop tourism in the area through its Destination Management Plan, which was produced in partnership with private, public and voluntary sector businesses.
“Morlais Castle Golf Club is one of Merthyr Tydfil’s premier sporting venues and helps showcase the beauty of our countryside,” he added. “The new short course will be less demanding for new and young players and help make golf more easily available and attractive.”
Morlais Castle is a challenging moorland course in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons National Park and has a modern clubhouse and indoor practice area. The remains of Morlais Castle, built in 1270, run along the right hand side of the third fairway.
The club was founded in 1900, currently has over 400 members and boasts a first rate practice area, restaurant/bar, 200-seater conference facility and full 18-hole course.
Long-time member Kath Griffiths made history this season on becoming the first woman in the club’s history to be made Vice-captain. This means she will be Morlais Castle’s first female Club Captain when she takes over from Colin Butler next season.
Kath has been a member of the club for more than 30 years and her husband and two sons also play there. “I’ve loved my golfing career and am really keen to see more women enjoy the same positive experiences I’ve had,” she said.