Pyle and Kenfig has been recognised with the Golf Union of Wales golf club of the year award as they prepare to welcome some of the world’s best senior players again this summer.
The Mid Glamorgan course will be a pre-qualifier for the Seniors British Open at Royal Porthcawl this summer, having earned plaudits from competitors in 2014, however there is much more to the club which helped them claim the prestigious title.
They were part of a very strong shortlist, which also included Bryn Meadows, Clyne, Lakeside, Garthmyl, former winners Langland Bay, Milford Haven and Pennard.
Pyle and Kenfig were shortlisted last year, with a lot of their ongoing initiatives helping them to earn the award as they came to fruition in 2016.
The last five years have seen one of the top courses in Wales become much more customer focussed, which has resulted in an increase of 65 new adult members across all categories, 47 new junior members almost half of whom were girls.
They also increased visitor fees by £10,000, invested £150,000 in the course, improved practice facilities, secured funding to develop a nine hole course, achieved the Golf Development Wales Junior GolfCert and delivered community outreach programmes.
The club’s junior team won the Junior Inter Club Team Championship, while they co-hosted the Amateur Championship in 2016 and will host the Ladies British Open Amateur Championship this summer as well as the Senior Open qualifiers.
“It has been an incredible five years, almost a rollercoaster ride because we were desperate,” admitted club captain Roger Parsons.
“We needed to do a lot of work so we developed the driving range, the putting green and the practice area. We are building a nine hole golf course, we put a golf simulator in, improved the gents and ladies lockers rooms and generally have done the facade of the golf club.
“We improved everything so when people came they felt it was something special, somewhere they would want to be a member.
“The junior set up is amazing. A year ago we had around 10-12 and they were the basis of the Welsh junior club team being looked after and nurtured - but we had nobody behind them; now these youngsters are being brought up with the Pyle and Kenfig badge and we have 80 youngsters now that we are nurturing and coaching.
“This is an historic award for us, the first time we have ever had the recognition, it is an accolade we are proud and privileged to achieve as a golf club. I am just lucky as I happen to be the captain this year, but the committee and everyone has worked tirelessly.
“We will get our golf flags branded with Welsh golf club of the year, everything we produce will include that, our website and so on, because we are so pleased.
Bridgend’s Lydia Hall claimed the Golf Union of Wales Tour Professional of the Year Award after making history as the first woman to beat the men in a British professional golf tournament.