ENGLAND Golf’s work to support grass roots golf is leading to a surge in new players and club members.
A new report highlights over 8500 new club memberships in the year to March 2015 – which could equal £7.2m in annual subscriptions. It also shows large increases in the number of people taking structured golf coaching (up 43% on the previous year) and those playing weekly (up 48%). The results follow a year of changed focus in county activity to grow the game. There have been fewer one-off taster sessions and more emphasis on structured coaching courses and regular playing opportunities, which lead to club membership.
This new approach supports the England Golf Strategic Plan for 2014-17, which has seven key aims, including creating more players, more members and stronger clubs.
Claire Roberts, England Golf’s head of participation, said: “Research tells us that golf club members play golf most often and our county network has, therefore, concentrated on creating more regular players and more members.
“The past year has been very encouraging and England Golf will continue to work with counties and clubs to promote regular coaching and ways to recruit and retain club members.”
The Impact Report on county activity has been prepared by England Golf’s Participation and Club Support Department and highlights:
o The Get into golf campaign which now gives all clubs the opportunity to upload their activities onto the website. England Golf has invested significantly in digital advertising during summer 2015 to increase awareness of golf and drive traffic to the website.
o The pilot project running in Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire to trial new ways of increasing participation and membership. These include free golf coaching at pitch and putt courses, promotion of nine-hole golf and after-work roll-ups, and a junior retention project.
o Increased capacity for county development officers to strengthen local activities.
The results, from 33 counties, are beating internal targets set by the England Golf Partnership (EGP) to achieve the aims of its Whole Sport Plan by 2017. The activity is also by measured by Sport England’s Active People Survey. The report details:
44,071 people aged 14-plus took part in structured coaching (up 43%)
25,606 people aged 14-plus took part in once a week activity (up 48%)
Overall, 39% of participants were female
Over 36,000 people took follow-up activities
A total of 8,539 new club memberships were reported – an average of 259 per county. This could equal more than £7.2million in subscriptions, based on an average full playing adult golf club membership fee of £846.
11% of participants declared themselves as having a disability, impairment or long term limiting condition and 29 counties have run specific projects for disabled golfers.
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