Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Rees takes captaincy role

Former Welsh Amateur champion Chris Rees, who played international golf alongside European Tour winners Phil Price, Stephen Dodd, Bradley Dredge and Jamie Donaldson, is the new captain of the Wales Men's team.

Rees takes on the new role after eight years as a selector and is hoping to use some of his own playing experiences, having come up through the ranks of Welsh golf, to help develop the stars of the future.

Chris King is the new captain of the Wales Boys team, succeeding Leighton Smith, while Rees takes over from Carl Rowe, following the Golf Union of Wales selection process.

Both Carl and Leighton have made a huge contribution and we are grateful for their efforts over the last four years, but we are also looking forward to the input from Chris and Chris,” explained Golf Union of Wales director of performance Ben Waterhouse.

Rees won the Welsh Boys title in 1982 and then added the Welsh Amateur crown in 1986, representing Wales in the Home Internationals for 13 years, as well as in the European championships and Eisenhower Trophy at world level.

I am looking forward to being involved having been a selector and player for such a long time, it is a passion for me to give something back, to captain your country is the biggest honour,” said the 48-year-old, who works as a project manager re-fitting oil rigs based in Aberdeen.

I came through the ranks with players such as Phil Price and Stephen Dodd, while Bradley Dredge came into the team then and Jamie Donaldson started playing for Wales in the last couple of years before I finished.

It definitely helps to have seen them play and – perhaps more importantly for the young players to learn from – to have seen them practice.

It was good to see how they used to prepare for events and of course to see how well they have done. They are the examples that the young players coming through the system now would love to emulate.

The system is very different to the one I came through. I got into the Wales team at the age of 20 and I was the youngest player then, now 20 would be one of the older ones.

There is still the same pride in pulling on the Welsh jersey, but the system was much more amateur then - more social.

The structures that have been put in place by the Golf Union of Wales over the last five or six years are beginning to pay off now.

It is much more professionally run and the guys coming through now have been involved in that junior set up over that time.

We have been looking hard at the discipline so they have got to toe the line if they want to play for Wales, living up to the ethos set by coach Neil Matthews and the selectors.

I have known Neil since he was a young player coming up through the ranks and it has been great to see his development into a top coach, I have come across most of the people involved through my own playing career.

Carl was a fantastic captain before me so there is plenty to build on. We will also be working closely as a Union to try and follow the example of the Wales Ladies team and their success.”
The Wales Ladies who have won the Home Internationals three times in the last six years.

King is also keen to build on such successes in helping the Wales Boys to achieve more.

My son Daniel has just finished at Boys level, he won the South Wales Boys title last year, so I can step back into that level without bias but knowing it very well,” explained former Gwent captain King.

There are a lot of good young players coming through in Wales. We had a lot of success when I was captain of Gwent, so that is something that we would like to repeat with the Wales team.”


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