Pair of PGA pros honoured by Wales Golf

Pair of PGA pros honoured by Wales Golf


Andrew Minty, a PGA Advanced Fellow Professional who has coached Hollywood star George Clooney, has picked up a golfing Oscar of his own in being named the Welsh Golf Club Manager of the Year.

Minty, the director of golf at Langland Bay, a club on the Gower Peninsular near Swansea, was presented with the award during the Wales Golf awards lunch at 2010 Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor.

He was not only PGA Member with cause for celebration, however, as Tom Benjamin from St Mellons Golf Club near Cardiff was named the Development PGA Professional of the Year. In addition, Eryl Williams, managing director of PGA Partner Asbri Golf, won the Volunteer of the Year award.

Langland Bay, which boasts celebrity Tinseltown couple Michael Douglas and Swansea-born Catherine Zeta-Jones as honorary members, has been both Welsh Golf Club of the Year and Club of the Decade under Minty’s stewardship.

This time, however, it was the 42-year-old’s turn to be honoured after he and the club experienced a particularly difficult 12 months due to bereavements and illnesses.

Nevertheless, junior membership has grown by more than 50 per cent in the space of seven months. There have also been improvements on the food and beverage side, an innovative scheme to include those on the membership waiting list, visitor guides and staff training.

Furthermore, 2023 was also Langland Bay’s most profitable year, with the profit being reinvested in machinery and the course.

Minty is no stranger when it comes to being recognised for his work: he won the GCMA UK Golf Club Manager of the year award in 2016 and the PGA Manager of the Year award in 2022.

Commenting on this latest accolade, he said: “It is an absolute honour to win it. There are a lot of great managers in Wales and to win it this year is a dream come true to be honest, especially given the one I have had personally and how the club have done.

“There were a lot of things going on personally, which we are starting to overcome now, but work was a distraction from that. I am surrounded by good staff, good people, and we are starting to get through it now.

“The club has gone well - junior membership has gone from 48 to 76 and there are 130 on the membership waiting list. We are getting the balance right between members and visitors, and making the members’ experience the best we can.”

Benjamin, meanwhile, has wasted no time in making his mark at St Mellons after returning to golf following a 10-year hiatus.

“I had a break from golf coaching for a decade and came back in March, 2022, to help out a friend,” the 35-year-old explained. “The club wanted someone to help with coaching the ladies and juniors.

“Junior membership was free at the club, but no-one was taking part. We introduced a membership fee but made the benefits of that worth far more than the cost.

“We have gone from zero to 57 and the next stage is to see that approach help grow the Gwent junior leagues. It shows the appetite is there for junior golf if you provide the opportunities for people to play.”

“I did not expect it to spiral as it did, so this award is a bit of a shock to be honest, but I am really pleased for the club.”

The Development PGA Professional of the Year award was supported by Asbri Golf, so it was fitting Williams was honoured for his efforts to grow the game at Radyr Golf Club.

He became the club’s junior organiser in 2018 and the section now has 70 regular members and there is waiting list to join.

“I got involved through my son,” he explained. “And it great to see players coming through as part of one team regardless of age, sex, and ability - they are part of something that will last a lifetime.

“That inspires me to keep going and developing the juniors and the way we have set it up the section almost runs itself with a great team of people helping.

“I work in the golf industry, and this has given me the chance to give back to the sport I love.

“I was a junior golfer and our junior organiser in Denbigh made me feel part of the club back then. I made new friends, and I am still playing. I think golf is a unique sport to help kids learn social as well as playing skills.”


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