Over 192,000 people were inspired to try golf in England in just one year and it is estimated that the benefit to golf clubs and other centres, from coaching and subscriptions, could be as high as £22.5 million.
The figure is identified in England Golf’s latest County Impact Report which highlights growing participation and club memberships in the year to the end of March 2016. Of those who tried the sport, over 64,000 went on to take structured coaching courses (up 17 per cent on the previous 12 months); around 34,000 are now playing once a week, and almost 14,000 new club memberships have been reported (up 31 per cent).
The newcomers and returners to the sport were attracted by Get into golf opportunities offered across the country. Their numbers reflect the work of the England Golf county network to support clubs to recruit and retain more players and members.
Nick Pink, England Golf Chief Executive, said: “These are excellent results. They’re a tribute to the hard work of our network of County Development Officers and all our partners, including the county unions and associations, the Golf Foundation and the PGA. Together, they work with and support clubs to grow the game.”
The county activity supports the aims of both the England Golf strategic plan to create more players, more members and stronger clubs, and the England Golf Partnership’s Whole Sport Plan for Golf.
Support for clubs offered during the year included highly-praised Business Growth Forums, which launched England Golf’s new training and education programme, Let’s Raise our Game. Over 600 clubs and 1500 key decision makers attended and a series of demand-led workshops were organised as a result.
The Business Growth Forums were developed from the Increasing Membership and Participation (IMP) pilot in Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire, which helps clubs take a fresh look at their opportunities, identify goals for growth and trial new approaches
It has also led to the national launch of Golf Express, which promotes the nine-hole game to encourage busy people to play more often. England Golf ambassador Justin Rose often plays nine holes in practice and describes Golf Express as: “A great way to play all the game in half the time.” In the successful trial in Staffordshire over 4600 nine-hole rounds were played in eight-months.
The Get into golf campaign, to inspire people to take up and play golf, continues to create awareness of beginner opportunities and attracted over 850,000 hits on its website through investment in digital advertising. The new partnership with Sky Sports aims to bring 500,000 new or lapsed golfers into the sport by the end of 2018.
All clubs are invited to visit the England Golf Clubhouse www.englandgolf.org/clubhouse to promote their 9-hole green fees and offers to players on the GolfExpress9.org website and to upload their coaching offers to the Getintogolf.org website.
Click here to read the full County Impact Report. Image © Leaderboard Photography