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Cardigan golf club has won the Junior Club of the Year Award in a 2018 Welsh Golf Awards ceremony in the 2010 Clubhouse at Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor.
It is the reward for five years of hard work which has seen the club build junior membership up to 50, two thirds of whom are in weekly coaching and 14 of whom are girls – making them one of the largest junior girls section in Wales.
It was a West Wales double at the awards ceremony as Newport Links’ Carys Worby collected the Order of Merit awards in both the Ladies and the Girls sections, also part of a Wales Girls team who are targeting going one better than last year’s runner-up finish in the Home Internationals.
Cardigan’s Jullia Den Hartog, a former winner of the Wales Golf Volunteer of the Year award, said, “To be honest we were really shocked.
“When you see a lot of these clubs, they have big driving ranges and all this technical gear, all singing all dancing and lots of pros. We are one pro with a lot of volunteers and a lot of enthusiasm.
“It is a real warm, welcoming club with a lot of kids who turn up, not necessarily to win. Winning is great but it’s a club atmosphere and they’re really enjoying it, part of getting healthy, getting active and getting out there and playing.
“Not everybody is going to get on the tour, playing professionally, we just want them to be out there enjoying it like we do.
“We have got a grant we have been awarded to build a driving range, but it will take a while to get that done.
“Because our course is open all year, we don’t stop over the winter, the kids still come along and if it’s raining, we just go upstairs, move the tables and chairs, put different objects down and they have to try and hit them which focuses their putting.”
One player who may end up on a professional tour is Worby, planning another busy summer of golf alongside exams before heading to college in America.
The awards ceremony offered the chance to getting advice from European Tour winner Becky Morgan, the Wales Golf Tour Professional of the Year, who also went to college in America before playing on the LPGA tour.
“These Order of Merit wins definitely mean a lot and are a really good booster for next year because I got my points at ladies levels as well as in junior golf,” said Worby
“I have my golf goals but I also want to manage that with my exams. I tried to balance it last year and did well, but I am really looking forward to improving that balance this year.
“I have a few less tournaments this year but will really target those ones, rather than just going into everything.
“The chance to chat to Becky was just amazing. She knew I was going to Auburn, Alabama next season. She was one of the first Welsh players to study in the States so it was good to hear how much it has changed.
“Last year we were given a new opportunity to create a legacy in the European Girls Team Championships and we felt that the whole week, which really meant so much.
“Then the Home Internationals was basically the same team, I have been in teams with some of them for five years, so to do well with those girls means so much more.
“We came second last year so we are really going for it this year. I know we have got even stronger, so I am really excited to be part of the team.”