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New boost from the Ryder Cup
September 14, 2010

With less than a month to go before Wales hosts one of the world's biggest sporting events, another part of the regeneration of Welsh golf has been opened close to the Ryder Cup - in every sense.

The latest legacy for Wales from hosting the Ryder Cup was opened at Llanyrafon Municipal golf course, near Cwmbran, which is so near the Twenty Ten course, hosting the European and American teams from the end of the month, it could be reached with around 20 big drives.

Newport East MP Jessica Morden enjoyed lessons from club pro Dave Woodman when the new facilities opened, joining the thousands of women who have taken up golf under one of the schemes being run as part of the Ryder Cup Wales bid. Juniors from the Pontypool and Pontnewydd clubs were also on hand to demonstrate the facilities and the impact on junior golf.

The course at Llanyrafon has been significantly upgraded to enhance an excellent facility for learning the game, complimenting the world class Twenty Ten course just a few miles away.

Thanks to the Ryder Cup Wales Legacy Fund grant Llanyrafon has new drainage, refurbished bunkers, practice nets, all weather tees and signage.

The par three course is one of the busiest in Wales with more than 20,000 visitors a year and these improvements will help the course stay open in all winds and weather.

The course is part of the initiative for increasing the number of women and girls playing the game offering structured coaching for all levels and is aiming to become a Golf Development Wales starter centre.

"Like everyone else, I have been caught up in all the excitement now that we can count the time to The Ryder Cup in days rather than years or months," explained Jessica Morden.

"There has never been a better time to give golf a try in Wales , so it is important to make the most of such opportunities to learn something which can be a game for life and it is great to have an improved facility that is so well used in the area."

That view is backed up by Torfaen Council's Executive Member for Neighbourhood Services, John Cunningham, who said, "This is a really well used facility which we are delighted to be able to run as a municipal course so that it is available as widely as possible.

"We want to encourage and welcome new players to the game and improving the course in this way will make a popular facility even better.

"The club have a lot of great plans to further develop golf in the area through working with the schools and Golf Development Wales."

The club and council will continue to promote the course through local schools via the Dragon Sport and 5x60 development programmes, as well as developing partnerships with appropriate bodies.

"There is no doubt the excitement of the Ryder Cup is reaching a peak with the match only a few days away," said Ryder Cup Wales Chairman, John Jermine.

"Hosting the Ryder Cup has allowed us to help local authorities and clubs with grants to support new and improved facilities all round Wales and Llanyrafon was the ideal course to help develop the game  in this part of Wales especially so close to the Ryder Cup course.

"The club and the council are working hard to promote junior golf in the area and players of all ages new to the game now have a marvellous facility to play and, we hope, begin a lifetime of pleasure and exercise from golf. We are delighted to have been able to help provide a legacy that will benefit the local community for many future generations."

All Local Authorities and clubs in Wales were invited to apply for grants from the Ryder Cup Wales Legacy Fund and 28 clubs were successful in 15 Local Authorities throughout Wales . In total the £2m Legacy Fund, financed by the Welsh Assembly Government as part of the successful bid, has helped to build over 200 new holes and 32 new chipping and putting greens making golf accessible to all by providing new and improved high quality facilities across Wales for the 75,000 youngsters and over 25,000 adults introduced to the game, by Golf Development Wales, during the last seven years.

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