In their own words: Golf Union of Wales CEO Richard Dixon

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu May 30, 2017 19:56

The chief executive of the Golf Union of Wales, Richard Dixon, writes exclusively for The Golf Business about the growth of the game in Wales:

Welsh golfers have brought some of our greatest ever success on the course, while behind the scenes these are busy and exciting times with progressive changes planned at the Golf Union of Wales.

Golf Union of Wales Awards 2016 Celtic manor Resort 03.02.16 ©Steve Pope – Sportingwales

So 2017 has already had plenty of positives, headed by becoming the leading nation in Europe, but that progress has filtered down from the elite level through to every part of Welsh golf.

The Wales Men’s team may have won the European Nations Cup, with Jack Davidson capping his excellent start to the season with the individual title, but we are equally excited about the figures coming through for women and girls’ golf participation and our inclusivity programmes.

With the likes of Ladies European Tour players Lydia Hall and Amy Boulden playing a key role, we are seeing a real difference in the figures for women’s and girl’s golf in Wales.

They are plainly inspiring characters, but so are our two new ‘Inclusivity Ambassadors’, Stewart Harris and Mike Jones.

So there are plenty of places to start when looking at the start of 2017 and forwards at what is still to come this year.

Our new director of performance, Gillian O’Leary, joined from the Irish Ladies Golf Union and has built on the good work of predecessor Ben Waterhouse.

We knew our men’s team was in good form with David Boote having such a strong 12 months, including reaching the quarter-finals of the US Amateur, Jack Davidson winning the Spanish Amateur and Owen Edwards being named, alongside Boote, in the provisional Walker Cup squad.

Along with Celtic Manor’s Josh Davies, they were in a class of their own in Spain in winning the European Nations Cup. All four players contributed to the victory, but of course Jack was the star as he was subsequently also added to the provisional Walker Cup squad.

Owen has gone on the win the West of England title, so there is a prospect of having three Wales players in the Walker Cup for the first time since 2007 when Rhys Davies and Nigel Edwards were joined by Llew Matthews.

The European Men’s Team Championship is now our main target for the summer at the elite end of the game.

However we have also made progress in many other areas with our development team under director Hannah McAllister. The relationship with our member clubs is getting stronger than ever.

We are now working regularly with nearly 100 of our 150 member clubs and generally relationships with clubs are getting stronger on a regular basis and there are clear results to see.

Golf Union Wales
Coaching Launch
© Steve Pope – SPORTINGWALES

There are positive figures, especially in girls’ membership last year, there are also clear signs of progress with the women and girls hubs.

On the inclusivity side it is very inspiring to hear our new ambassadors talk. Stewart received his injuries serving in Afghanistan while Mike has won disability titles in Scotland, England and Spain, but what they have in common is a clear passion for golf for all.

So much to report on, but perhaps the biggest events of the year for Welsh golf are still to come as we finalise some exciting changes to be announced later in the year.

Watch this space, as they say.

To find out more on how the Golf Union of Wales can support your club, visit www.golfunionwales.org

 

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu May 30, 2017 19:56
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