Wales revelling in Ryder Cup legacy
For the first time in it history the Ryder Cup will finish on a Monday. Following three rain delayed days the winner will not emerge until later this evening.
But for Wales the party has already begun.
Celtic Manor Resort was already acknowledged as one of the leading golf holiday locations in Europe – having been recognised as such by the World Travel Awards on a number of occasions – but the exposure generated by the Ryder Cup has given it a truly global profile.
Wales, also, will benefit from the hosting of the event.
Tourism, inward investment and the development of the game in the country have all come under the spotlight as organisations and individuals, government departments and golf clubs have pooled resources and worked towards the shared goal of capitalising on The Ryder Cup.
Officials hope this progress will act as a catalyst for the future development of the game in Wales.
For example, over the past eight years Golf Development Wales has encouraged over 10,000 women to pick it up for The Ryder Cup, of which around 40 per cent have gone on to take up membership of a club, while all primary schools in Newport had The Ryder Cup written into their curriculum.
Some 41 projects across the length and breadth of Wales have also shared in the £2m Legacy Fund allocated by Ryder Cup Wales to help upgrade and enhance the nation’s golfing facilities.
The investment has been welcomed by the 70,000 club members in Wales but has also helped to encourage more men, women and children to take up the game.
As First minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, explained: “Since we won the right to host this event nine years ago, we have seen a huge increase in the volume of tourists coming to Wales to play golf and this is only one example of how Wales has benefited in that time.”
“And it doesn’t come to an end once the last shot is played.
“There’s a tremendous legacy from hosting this event – for the game of golf, for the economy and for the profile of Wales as a nation.”
The whole of Wales has joined in to support the Ryder Cup
Golf in Wales
But it is not just Celtic Manor which will see its profile skyrocket following the tournament, with many other golf courses now being given serious consideration by potential holidaymakers.
Prestatyn, in north Wales, Conwy along the North Wales coast, Nefyn on the Llyn Peninsula and Ashburnham in the south are all looking to benefit from the increased profile of Welsh golf.
As Ian Woosnam, captain of the successful European team in the 2006 Ryder Cup, explains, Wales is naturally endowed with the spirit of golf.
“There is more to golf than playing. Our clubhouses share a special talent for hospitality – the friendly bar, the inevitable snooker table, the animated discussions.
“People who think golf is a snobbish game should visit a Welsh clubhouse.
“Uplifted noses are not encouraged. We specialise more in laughter and banter. The clubhouses haven’t changed throughout the years and I hope they never will,” he added.
The Ryder Cup has attracted thousands of visitors to Wales
Wales has also used The Ryder Cup as a catalyst to promote itself as a place to invest and do business, creating valuable engagement opportunities with international businesses.
Specially produced adverts running on Cathay Pacific and Virgin airlines have already been seen by thousands of visitors, while an international televised audience of millions will have seen what Wales has to offer.
Businesses and communities across Wales, but particularly around Newport, have also benefited from a programme of infrastructure improvements that have been delivered on the back of the tournament, including the fast tracking of a new railway station and improvements to the road network.
Wales, then, will emerge a winner – whoever triumphs on the course.