Girls will compete equally with boys in some junior Welsh golf competitions next year, as part of a series of changes to championship golf in Wales aimed at increasing both competition and participation.
The previously-named Boys competitions at Under 16 and Under 14 levels will change name to reflect the extension to allow girls to compete for the first time, they will be called the Welsh U16’s and Welsh U14’s Championships. The champion could be male or female, but there will also be separate gender prizes and trophies in both championships. Handicap limits will be altered slightly to 20 (U16’s) & 28 (U14’s).
Gillian O’Leary, Director of Performance for Wales Golf, welcomed the news, “Following the success of the Ping Welsh Junior Tour, this change now offers national competitive golf within Wales to all junior golfers, at all stages of their development.”
There will also be changes to the 9 hole competition which can see members of Welsh clubs winning the chance to play in the Grand Final at Carnoustie Golf Club, just days before the playing of the 147th Open Championship.
Changing from last season, clubs with a 9 hole rated Standard Scratch Score will now be able to run a 9 hole competition within their club leading to a national league table, with the top two teams once again qualifying to play in the final at the Open Championship venue just days before the world’s best do battle.
With full details to follow in the coming weeks, being sent to all clubs across Wales, Ashton Bradbury, Chairman of Championships & Rules, Wales Golf, added, “The ambition of the R&A and Wales Golf alike is to promote this format to clubs across Wales. “I am delighted we will now have the chance to see this event run directly within our clubs so helping to raise the profile of 9 hole competition golf.”
Handicap Allowances will also increase across a range of Wales Golf events next year, following changes to the CONGU handicapping system coming into effect in 2018.
Championship Manager David Wilson said, “These changes are designed to give all golfers across Wales the chance to compete in Championships should they wish to.”
“The increased limits to CONGU Competition Handicaps should mean more golfers are in a position to compete on a level playing field and we look forward to seeing this at our Championships from next season.”
Full details of all changes will be available on the Wales Golf website in the new year, along with the opening of entries in early 2018.