Next generation of golfers
Welsh Professional of the Year Mike Davies of Glyn Abbey Golf Club in Carmarthenshire talks about his passion for inspiring the next generation of golfers.
We work with a lot of schools. We do a lot of disability coaching and we hold a fair opportunity golf day once a year for children with disabilities. We get about 140 players taking part with around 50 member volunteers who come and help for the day. It’s quite a special event.
On top of that, we’re working with about 10 schools that are in regular tuition. We have our own classes with just under 60 children here every Saturday. It’s quite an operation.
It all contributes to the community spirit at the club. We are a very warm, welcoming and friendly club and everyone like to get involved in helping out whenever new people walk through the door. One guy who had a lesson last week came up to me and told me that four members had already given him their telephone number and told him to call if he wanted a game. It’s that sort of club. It’s like the Cheers bar here when the members walk in.
What I like about the course is that it’s a good mix. There are some nice short, tight holes that you need to think about and there are some good long par-fours where you can open your shoulders up. It’s a good mix of golf, you are going to get through your bag. We’ve got one or two greens that you might be able to reach from the tee, but you’re really going to get punished if you’re off line. We’re spread out over 250 acres, so you really do feel like you’re out there on your own having a good knock.
The layout also makes our course so good to play. Every hole is individual, plus we’ve got the USGA spec greens. They’ve been laid properly so the drainage is incredible. Even after heavy rain, they are dry in 30 minutes. We did a sand slitting project on the course last year that cured all our drainage problems. It was big expensive project, which caused some disruption at the time, but it’s all been worth it.
My big plan for 2014 is to try and get golf into schools. My hope is to get a golf team in every year in comprehensive schools. I think it’s the future for junior golf and that it will create a whole new realm of interest.
We’ve started off the project at Glyn Abbey with a club amnesty. Our members have brought in their old clubs so they can be given to kids who can’t afford them. People have been incredibly generous. I’ve got about 14 sets of irons that have been handed in, bags and bags of woods, shoes and about 600 balls. Coming from a comprehensive school, helping more kids get into the game is a genuine passion that I’ve got.