Clubs offering free golf for 2014
Several golf clubs have issued some sort of free golf offer for the first time in their history since the beginning of 2014.
Many clubs have been offering free golf, or free coaching, to golfers who do not fit traditional profiles of club members, in order to promote their venues.
Recently, South Moor Golf Club in Durham announced it would provide unlimited free golf to anyone under 16 if one of the world’s top 20 golfers opened its new artificial golf facility, the largest in Europe.
Crown Golf has also announced that, with immediate effect, anyone under 14 can join any of its 25 golf clubs for free, if at least one parent, grandparent or guardian is a seven-day or five-day member at that golf club.
The offer – named Juniors Go Free – also extends to members who have joined Crown Golf’s new Freedom Play flexible membership, which is available at 18 of the group’s properties.
“We are serious about playing our part in safeguarding the future of the sport” said Crown Golf’s outgoing chief executive officer, Stephen Lewis, “and Juniors Go Free is the strongest possible statement we can make.
“Juniors Go Free means that many existing members will now enrol their children at the club for the first time,” he continued. “Far more families will get fully involved at a Crown Golf club in 2014: we’re sending a clear message out, that golf is not just for the parents.
The move is expected to quadruple the number of junior golfers across the group, said a spokesman.
“This is fantastic news for dozens of families at our golf club,” said Shaun Bakker, Mill Green Golf Club’s general manager. “We already have a strong junior section, and this will take junior golf at Mill Green to another level in 2014.”
“We expect Juniors Go Free to trigger an instant influx of new junior members in 2014,” said Tim Hudson, Chesfield Downs Golf Club’s general manager.
“This makes the club attractive to families who want to be welcomed rather than discouraged, which is a common complaint about British golf clubs from non-golfers.”
Crown Golf members can each enrol up to two children or grandchildren aged 13 or under, in the scheme. Juniors who join under the scheme must play with an adult, when they play on the club’s full-length golf course.
Earlier this year St Mellion International Resort, the group’s flagship property, introduced a ‘Junior Golf Scholarship’ for 25 young golfers aged between 12 and 18. Each junior on a St Mellion Junior Golf Scholarship receives free golf and coaching at the club, with scholarships being re-assessed on an annual basis.
Earlier this year Stamford Golf Club in Greater Manchester allowed up to 50 women to effectively join the club for six months for free – and even receive weekly coaching sessions from the club’s PGA professional for free as part of the deal.
“There were no catches,” said a spokesman. “This was an attempt to promote our under-represented group of ladies – we were seeking new lady golfers into the club.”
Buxton and High Peak Golf Club in Derbyshire is allowing children to join its academy or be home members, provided they purchase an insurance policy, and Haywards Heath Golf Club is offering free memberships for spouses, partners or friends of new full adult playing members for the summer of 2014. That member can then join the club for half price in 2015.
In 2012 Neil Sjoberg, manager of Epping Golf Club and former Golf Club Managers’ Association’s Manager of the Year finalist, said free golf is an essential marketing tool used to attract beginners into golf.
“I cannot imagine how any club can think for one second that they can survive, let alone grow, without a very active free lesson programme that is a big part of creating new golfers for their club,” he said.