THERE are nearly 1,000 more golf club members in Wales, as well as a rise of more than 50% in children getting the chance to play golf, according to the latest School Sport Survey.
Wales Golf has welcomed the facts and figures which highlight the initial successes of the new vision and strategy ‘Everyone’s Game, Anywhere,’ launched last year and which is having an impact across the board.
Membership of golf clubs in Wales is up in 2019, compared to 2018 results. With one club set to return exact figures, the final number of the increase is set to be just under 1,000.
The number of girls trying golf in school has more than doubled, while more than half the people involved in Wales Golf schemes are women and girls.
Wales Golf championships have increased the opportunities on the Ping Welsh Junior Tour, brought in revised rules to open up events to competitors with a disability, as well as continuing to hold the events to find the best players in Wales at all levels.
Wales elite performance teams have seen plenty of successes on the international stage, with a new group of players coming through at the top levels and continued refinement of the system to look after the most talented amateurs in Wales.
While the news is positive, with participation in schemes up in all areas, the figures also show great potential with 4% of the general adult population in Wales playing golf regularly – along with latent demand from a further 4%.
Golfers are more likely to hit Chief Medical Office activity guidelines of two and a half hours a week by a rate of around three to two, compared to the rest of the population.
Around a third of golfers have a long-term illness or disability compared to a Wales average of a fifth, showing it is a sport which is widely accessible.
Mental well-being scores and social trust were also slightly higher among golfers than the general population.
“It has been a successful and exciting year implementing the new strategy ‘Everyone’s Game, Anywhere’ with a focus on women and girls development, inclusive golf and stronger clubs with the Development Team beating targets in almost every area,” said Wales Golf director of development Hannah McAllister.
“There have been 69,000 participants introduced to golf through 2018 in Wales Golf related schemes, with a record number of participants in New2Golf club schemes of 1832 which is a 19% increase from 2017.
“Female adults increased by 38%, 56% of New2Golf participants were female and 58% of all participants converted to trial membership – with all these areas showing increases on the previous year.
“Sixty six clubs ran New2Golf schemes, compared to 52 clubs in 2017, with 26 clubs achieving gold standard. Fifty one clubs are using the Strong Club Matrix and are gaining Business Support compared to 37 at the last Wales Golf board meeting.
“Almost nine out of ten people would recommend their golf club to a friend, while we have also seen an increase in the volume of junior coaching.
“Thirty nine clubs have achieved Junior GolfCert, up six, while 85% clubs are fully aware and/ or engaged in development activity through Wales Golf.
“The new Women and Girls Officer, funded by the R&A, has been in post for just over a year and taken Women and Girls development to another level.
“Along with the team’s support, this has led to a record number of clubs and participants – in particular women – participating in New2Golf with more events, launching new girls hubs and 10% of clubs are in the process or have signed up to the R&A Women and Girls Charter
“Our pilot health scheme with stroke survivors gained interest from the Welsh Government who supported the national roll out with a grant, one of the first sports to receive funding direct from Health.
“Golf club membership is up around 900 across Wales, with one club still to resolve exact figures. The biggest group and the biggest area of increase is male adults, but we have also seen increases of female adults and female juniors joining clubs.”
For details on the Wales Golf Club Survey please go to www.walesgolf.org