2,000 people join clubs thanks to CGPs22nd May, 2012 by Alistair Dunsmuir
More than 50,000 people in England have taken up golf in the last year thanks to a network of 32 country partnerships that exist to develop golf. Over one in every 25 of these new golfers are now even members of golf clubs, which alone has contributed nearly £1.5 million to the industry.
The County Golf Partnerships (CGPs) inspired at least 54,000 people to have a go at golf in 2011/12 – an increase of 121 per cent on the previous 12 months.
“These newcomers are helping to generate additional income for golf clubs, driving ranges and coaches,” said a spokesman for England Golf, which created the network.
A CGP involves the men’s county union, ladies’ county association and county PGA working together to combine knowledge, best practices and resources.
They proved particularly successful at attracting people aged over 16. Almost two-thirds of the total were in this age group and their number (34,458) has increased by 217 per cent on 2010/11.
Already, over 19,000 of the total have taken follow-on coaching and over 2,000 have joined golf clubs.
The new memberships are equal to an investment of more than £1.44m in golf clubs, before any additional spending on coaching, green fees and refreshments, based on an average membership subscription of £688.
The CGP network supports grass roots golf at county level and is an integral part of the England Golf Partnership’s (EGP) ‘Whole Sport Plan’ for golf. These results were achieved in the third year of the current plan, which runs from 2009 to 2013.
All CGPs offer activities, such as taster sessions and coaching programmes, to attract beginners and returners to the game, particularly those aged 16 and over. Each partnership has a development officer who builds relationships with local golf clubs, ranges and PGA professionals.
In Surrey, for example, between April and September 2011, 3,307 adults took part in the ‘Golf MIX’ events and structured coaching sessions at various clubs, which were marketed extensively on Twitter. Over 700 of them took up further coaching and 225 joined golf clubs.
A number of partnerships are starting to work with their local universities, colleges and businesses to create more interest in golf.
The EGP anticipates that the county partnerships will encourage even more people to try golf during the next 12 months when their activities will also be highlighted by the new ‘Get into golf’ promotional campaign.
Richard Flint, England Golf’s development manager, commented: “This is a great success story for the CGPs and a satisfying reward for all their hard work.”