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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 November 2006, 09:33 GMT
Plans for course for golf novices
Europe's winning Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam
Organisers also hope to attract Ryder Cup legacy funding
A golf course for young and novice players is being planned in the run-up to the 2010 Ryder Cup in Newport.

The nine-hole course, supported by Newport Council, would be built at the end of an existing driving range at the community course in Caerleon.

The council has agreed to put 100,000 towards the 225,000 project with the remainding funding yet to be granted.

It is also intended to build on the growing interest in the sport ahead of the Europe vs US elite event.

One player who is backing the need for the course is 18-year-old golfer Chris Pritchard, from Newport, who recently won a golf scholarship with an American university.

Golf is often perceived as an elitist sport, but we want to make sure everyone has the same opportunities to start playing the game
Cllr Ron Jones

"Having a facility like that would be such a good idea, it would give young people the chance to have a go and to practice," he said.

"I started playing when I was about 13 and the facilities on offer then weren't very good but they are getting better.

"There are a lot more young people taking up the sport, I think its got to do with things like the Welsh Open and of course the Ryder Cup."

Further backing is being sought from the Ryder Cup legacy fund, set up to help develop grassroots golf facilities.

The course is also subject to planning permission.

Chris Pritchard
Chris Pritchard is supporting the plans for the course

Since 1999, the course has been run by Caerleon Golf Club under a voluntary management agreement with the council.

It is hoped the scheme will provide opportunities for partnerships with the Celtic Manor Resort, where the Ryder Cup will being held, and local clubs.

Councillor Ron Jones said: "Golf is often perceived as an elitist sport, but we want to make sure everyone has the same opportunities to start playing the game.

"We have a good relationship with the club and this new facility will offer youngsters in Newport the chance to try the sport and develop their game on a par three course."

Image change

Brian Davies, manager for golf development in Wales, said statistics showed that golf membership levels in Wales for boys and girls were the highest ever.

He said: "There has been about a 17% rise in the numbers of girls and there are around 7,500 boys playing.

"Getting courses like the one planned in Caerleon is a good way of encouraging them to play.

"There is a big problem when you are a beginner at any age to go onto the main course proper because it can be very discouraging and daunting when you have to try and hit the ball 20 times for example."




SEE ALSO
City prepares for golf fan influx
05 Jan 06 |  South East Wales

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