A team of PGA professionals has teed up a special landmark after giving free lessons to 6,000 newcomers in the space of just 12 months. Jon Woodroffe, an awarding winning PGA Fellow Professional, has spearheaded the campaign at the World of Golf facilities where he is group golf development manager.
And with sign-up rates to the golf programmes running at 500 a month across the four sites in New Malden, Croydon, Sidcup and Glasgow, Woodroffe believes they have hit the perfect recipe to driving up participation rates, particularly among beginners.
“We embarked on an initiative to get more people into playing golf by offering free beginner group classes,” explained Woodroffe. “Among the main reasons identified why people do not take lessons are cost and embarrassment but in a friendly, relaxed group environment that is taken away while giving lessons for free obviously tackles the cost factor away.
“Also having worked for 30 years on golf ranges I know that when people start golf without lessons they have an initial improvement but because they do not get the basics of grip and posture shown to them by a PGA professional the improvement stalls, they lose interest and then are lost to the golf industry.
“With our PGA professionals teaching them the fundamentals on their six, one-hour free group classes the improvement is more sustained and greater.
“This project is now a year old and the four sites combined have now put 6,000 people through the free lesson programme and the rate shows no sign of slowing down either with sign-ups averaging 500 a month.
“We are obviously proud of this achievement but more importantly want to encourage more people to come and have a go and find out just what a fantastic game golf is.”
Woodroffe has twice been a recipient of prestigious awards from the Golf Foundation in recognition of his contribution to grass roots golf. The latest came in May when he and fellow PGA pro Richard Morris received the Laddie Lucas award on behalf of the World of Golf (New Malden) for its work at local level.
World of Golf has also earned RangeMark certificate in recognition of its high standards and effort in ushering in a new generation of golfers.
The innovate chain of ranges has carved out a unique reputation for making golf fun with a dinosaur themed putting course at its New Malden site while its popular Schools Go Free campaign has also introduced the sport to a further 3,000 youngsters.
World of Golf www.worldofgolf.co.uk