By Gareth James
Richard Dixon is to step down as chief executive of Wales Golf this summer, after 30 years at the top of the game in Wales.
Dixon is a former scratch golfer and county player, who played Boys golf with Ian Woosnam and won the Shropshire &Hereford and Brecon & Radnor County Championships.
He joined the Welsh Golfing Union, as the Men’s golf governing body in Wales was called then, in 1991, being appointed as Secretary in 1992.
After playing a key role in the merging of the Men’s and Ladies golf unions in Wales following the successful bid for the 2010 Ryder Cup, Dixon was appointed Chief Executive of the new Golf Union of Wales, which has since been re-branded as Wales Golf.
“It has been great to be involved in Welsh Golf and top have seen so many positive developments over that time,” said 64-year-old Dixon.
“I feel now is the right time to hand over the reins for a new era of progress, while I still have a chance to be involved in some special projects and enjoying the chance to step back.
“When I started I would never have imagined Wales would host a Ryder Cup during my tenure and I would be fortunate enough to contribute to the bid committee, hosting that event had done so much good for golf in Wales including the founding of Golf Development Wales which is now fully integrated into Wales Golf.
“Because of our size, Wales is always battling against the odds to consistently produce amateur success against the other Home Unions and within Europe.
“I am delighted to say David has beaten the Goliaths on several occasions during my time, while it has been a privilege to see so many talented and hard-working players coming through the system from someone I played with in Ian Woosnam to fellow Welsh Ryder Cupper Jamie Donaldson.
“On the ladies side, the likes of Solheim Cup player Becky Brewerton and Ladies European Tour winners Becky Morgan, Lydia Hall and Amy Boulden have led the way.
“Perhaps the biggest change to the governance of golf in Wales has seen the merging of the men’s and ladies’ unions, something I was delighted to see and privileged to be part of. It was an honour to become the first chief executive.
“Setting up Golf Development Wales was also a huge step forward for golf in Wales. We have seen hundreds of thousands of people in Wales getting the chance to try our sport-and potentially enjoy it for a lifetime.
Our development team have also been instrumental in improving relationships with our member clubs by improving the suite of services available to clubs. Ironically the current pandemic has helped to reinforce this relationship and augurs well for the future.
“I was a founder member of the Golf Forum in St Andrews, and to have represented Wales at international conferences around Europe and the world.
“It was also gratifying to have been involved in the 2010 Ryder Cup and to have attended 28 consecutive Open Championships which as well as being the world’s premier golf event is also a vibrant hub for meeting fellow golf influencers and the sharing of ideas.
“There are too many people to thank, but suffice to say there have been and still are many remarkable people involved in golf in Wales.”
In 1991 when Dixon started there were only three people working at the Golf Union of Wales and one and a half at the Welsh Ladies Golf Union.
He will leave at the end of July with the governance of the game in much stronger shape with 14 full-time and one part-time members of staff, including a development arm which was born out of the successful bid for the 2010 Ryder Cup.
The member of Brecon, Cradoc, Welshpool, Monmouthshire, Llanymynech and Whitchurch (Cardiff) was manager of the Welsh Men’s teams which won the 1993 European Men’s Team Championships, the 1998 European Youths Team Championships and the 2002 Home Internationals.