Why would someone join a golf club?
A new survey has revealed that a welcoming and friendly atmosphere is the number one reason why somebody relatively new to golf will join a golf club. This is followed by knowing an existing member and a thriving social programme.
While the Golf Development Wales (GDW) poll of nearly 2,000 people who have joined a golf club in the last year does not go into any detail as to what constitutes a ‘welcoming atmosphere’, the survey comes less than two months after England Golf called on golf clubs to relax dress codes and restrictions on mobile phones, following its own market research.
Most of the 2,000 people questioned in this new poll had only just been introduced to the game – through GDW’s New2Golf scheme, and the majority of them are female.
Those surveyed who had not gone on to join a club cited lack of time and cost as the main reasons, but only a tiny minority completely ruled out joining a club in the future.
The club’s social programme was particularly important to women, while the opportunities to get a handicap and play in competitions were more important to men.
It is not clear how useful the data will be to golf clubs as several market themselves as already being ‘friendly’, but a spokeswoman for the Golf Union of Wales said the research shows that clubs should use their existing members to recruit new people to join their facilities.
“This is really important feedback and helps to remind clubs there is plenty they can do to encourage people to join,” said development director Hannah Fitzpatrick.
“The findings provide strong support for ‘member get member’ type schemes.”
Fitzpatrick added that the survey shows that golf clubs should maintain some form of contact with golfers who have chosen not to join a club – as they could be persuaded to do so in the future,
“All these stories are good for the golf clubs that are changing, good for the sport, but also good for the people taking up a game that will keep them active for the rest of their lives,” she added.
New2Golf is a promotional scheme for Welsh clubs that encourages participants to try the game with discounts on lessons.
In the two years since it was launched, including the initial pilot period, 1,796 people have taken up club membership – with well over half being girls or women.