Wales’ largest golf academy First Swing hits a milestone…
As our first swing junior golf academy celebrated its 5th birthday over the weekend, we thought it only fitting that we take a trip down memory lane.
Established in 2014, initially the 9 hole course was designed with beginners in mind and opened with the aid of funding from Sport Wales. We opened with 4 children signed up. We now have 88 academy children and 24 new to golf adults, with coaching sessions held 7 days a week at various times, weekly junior golf competitions and the majority of our older academy children moving into individual lesson programme to focus on their individual requirements.
Our coaching groups are run by our 2 PGA golf professionals; Katy Edwards and Tasha Gobey, between them they have over 10 years’ experience in coaching. The coaching groups and lessons are available for ages 4 years plus and are suitable for complete beginners or those looking to improve their skills. Coaching starts from just £20.00 per month.
The First Swing Golf Academy has gone from strength to strength since it started in 2014. The junior golfers have had a lot to celebrate about over the last 5 years, there has been plenty of opportunity for all members of the academy to get involved with events and competitions, and we can even hold their birthday party. Children golf parties are an ideal opportunity for the students to introduce their friends into the sport as well as having plenty of fun playing zombie golf. The parties include an hour on the golf simulator or on our academy course as well as a pizza and drink afterwards. They are perfect for 8 or more children.
In 2017 we were pleased to announce that we added to our all -weather golf facility as the Foresight GC Quad Golf Simulator was added. Situated in our Winners bar it has been a fantastic addition to our teaching tools and has meant that alongside the Indoor Putting Studio lessons have been able to continue coaching during the winter months.
In 2018 we won Golf Club of the Year, which was a huge achievement and something we have dreamed of winning for many years, the academy course was refurbished that year with repositioning of holes.
In 2018 and 2019 we had competitors in the Mini Masters Final which is played at the Celtic Manor. Members of the academy are also in the Welsh Development Squad, representing Gwent County in inter county matches. More recently in 2018 Gracie Mayo, was chosen to represent Wales Under 16’s golf tournament. She is also the clubs youngest ever ladies club champion. In 2018 we also began visiting the local schools to do in house coaching sessions in the aim of growing golf in children and bringing awareness to the opportunities now available within the local area.
Our ladies section has grown tremendously over the last 5 years, having our 2 lady PGA professionals at the resort has really inspired ladies to take up the sport. A new beginners weekly coaching session started in September 2018. For women and girls, there has never been a better chance to pick up a club and get involved. Our sessions are held on our First Swing Academy Course or during poor weather in our Indoor Putting Studio or state of the art Golf Simulator. To encourage ladies and girls to start, the first lesson is free of charge. Our ladies have said that it’s not just about learning a new skill but it’s also making new friends and having a sense of community.
“The biggest challenge is just getting started. Some women can convince themselves that they do not have any sporting ability. It does not take long to gain confidence in hitting the golf ball, and after a couple of sessions in our relaxed environment they soon pick it up. You do not need to be a professional, most just enjoy meeting new people and being out in the fresh air.” Katy Edwards, PGA Professional Golfer at Bryn Meadows Golf Hotel & Spa
In 2019 we found there was a demand for male golf lessons, we found men wanted to take up golf but didn’t know how. The assumption has always been that men would be happy to approach a golf club themselves however this isn’t always the case. Our new2golf men’s lessons have proven popular and now have 10 men signed up and alongside the ladies our adult new2golf members are now at 24.
The highlight of the year for our academy is the First Swing Golf Academy Awards Ceremony. This is where members and their family can celebrate the achievements and progression gained throughout the year as well as the children we also celebrate our growing men and ladies section.
This year it took place on Sunday 3rd February 2019, in the Fairway Suite. We give out skill based awards at the ceremony. As throughout the year the children are regularly assessed on their progress to see how well they are improving in all areas of golf, this means the awards is always an highly anticipated to find out what you will come home with.
In September 2019 First Swing academy celebrated 5 years. We celebrated with our children from our coaching groups and held a birthday party in its official home Winners Bar, the children had birthday cake, enjoyed hotdogs and played hit the piñata, we even had a visit from Bryn bear.
We can’t wait to see what the next 5 years has to hold for our First Swing Academy, one thing we are sure is that it will continue to grow and with the support of Natasha and Katy it is guaranteed to be a success.
Further information on Junior, Ladies and men’s coaching at Bryn Meadows can be found on the website brynmeadows.co.uk or the team can be called on 01495 221905.