A RETIRED butcher from the Vale of Clwyd whose connection with Ruthin-Pwllglas Golf Club began as a teenage caddy has received one of the Welsh game’s greatest accolades.

Oswyn Roberts, now 71, who went from carrying clubs to club captain at the scenic course, has been voted the Wales Golf volunteer of the year and received the award at a glittering ceremony at the Celtic Manor Hotel, which played host to the 2010 Ryder Cup.

The father of two from Llanfair DC has been club chairman for nine years, but that early connection was as an apprentice butcher at John Jones and Son in Clwyd Street, Ruthin, where on quiet days he’d be told to go up to the golf course and caddy for the senior members.

That meant a three-and-a-half mile bike ride, the last half-mile up a steep hill, to the course where he did odd jobs and carried the clubs - unpaid - for players and he was rewarded with a meal.

He said: “I was in my teens when I started at the butchers and Edwin Jones, who was a very good player, would send me up to the club on my bike to help out and caddy.

“I don’t remember volunteering to do it, but I’ve been doing plenty of volunteering in recent years and I love it.”

He didn’t actually join the club as a member until 1993, but Oswyn has been the club chairman for nine years and for him that role involves everything from chairing meetings, carrying out running repairs to the clubhouse clock and overseeing and getting hands on with course maintenance.

He’s from a farming background and has laid hedges, planted trees and taken a chainsaw and brush-cutter to the vegetation at the club, which is spectacularly sited on a plateau 600 feet up with sweeping views.

His years at the butchers mean he’s also a dab hand at serving up everything from bacon baps to a three-course captain’s day meal for over 100 hungry golfers.

He has trained club members in food hygiene, helped with junior golf sessions, done a chainsaw operator course and during the long and very hot summer of 2018, he spent hours every morning and evening watering the greens.

Club secretary Ian Vaughan Evans said: “Oswyn is an innovative, effective, efficient and respectful leader who embraces change, encourages his team to adapt and deliver a high quality service.

“He has an excellent rapport with his officials, listens to his team members, gives them the opportunity to try new ways of working and encourages and supports our members.”

Oswyn said: “The club is 113 years old and it’s always been run by volunteers, that’s our ethos and I’ve had lots of help from so many great people.

“I’m from Bontuchel originally, from a farming family, and that’s where I learned a lot of the skills like hedging and they’ve stood me and the club in good stead over the years.

“I joined the club in 1993 and since then I have done all sorts of thing from planting trees with Bob Clwyd Williams – there was a grant for planting them and we planted loads.

“Now we’re taking a lot of trees out to open up the rough to get more sunshine in and we’re being rewarded with lots of wild flowers like orchids and bluebells.

“We are trying to encourage wildlife, I’ve written an ecology piece on our website, we’ve built bug hotels and log piles and are creating different types of habitat for a variety of plant and animal life.”

The highlight of the seven-handicapper’s playing career has been winning captain’s day at the club and he has twice holed in one.

“Once when I was playing by myself and there was no-one there to see it!”

For more information on Ruthin-Pwllglas Golf Club go to ruthinpwllglasgc.uk