The Derbyshire Golf Development Group’s drive to grow the game has proved successful during 2018.
The group has delivered projects across the county to take golf into the community, which has resulted in the introduction of 2,806 new people to the game (of which 43% were women and over 30% under the age of 25).
The project, which was partly funded by £27,000 from Sport England, has seen PGA Professional coaches raise the profile of the game and take golf into the community, schools and workplace to attract new people into golf. These introductory sessions were then followed up with sustainable five- and six-week coaching programmes to help people learn how to play.
Feedback from the participants highlighted the following:
100% would be interested in playing more golf.
98% found the coaching ‘very good’ or ‘exceeded expectations’.
98% would be interested in further coaching.
27% had already undertaken further coaching.
67% subsequently used a driving range.
43% subsequently played golf on a golf course.
35% would like to join a golf club.
63% would like starter club membership.
25% would like full club membership.
11% have already joined a golf club.
Projects were delivered in the Derby area, High Peak Borough and North East Derbyshire at facilities such as Peak Practice Driving Range, Buxton High Peak GC, Cavendish GC, Tapton Park GC, Barlborough Links, South Chesterfield GC & Morley Hayes Golf Complex.
The coaches involved said how much they had enjoyed the projects and could really see what a positive impact they have had in helping to introduce new people to the game.
Former Ladies European Tour player Fame Tate said: “The statistics really prove how initiatives like this are such a powerful tool in not only initially engaging individuals in the game, but sustaining their interest. For 100% of the participants to say after their taster sessions that they would be interested in playing more golf speaks volumes.
“Golf clubs throughout the country are facing membership issues in terms of recruitment and retention, however, the projects show that there are the individuals out there wanting to take up some form of membership, whether that be starter membership or full membership.
“Almost two-thirds of our participants said that they would like starter membership, so that poses the question – are these membership packages available within the locality? Pathways of progression need to be put in place to take these individuals from the initial coaching stages all the way through to further coaching, with the view of club membership and ultimately life long participants of the game.”
She added: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work on the projects and we have received some fantastic feedback. To see not only how much everyone has enjoyed the sessions, but the other benefits the sessions bring such as socialisation is wonderful to see. It is much more than just golf coaching.”
Nigel Furniss, Development Officer for the Derbyshire Golf Development Group, said: “It has been fantastic project to be involved in, the coaches involved have delivered a magnificent job in taking the game out into the community to attract new people to golf. We couldn’t have had the success without their enthusiasm and innovative approach to raising the profile of the game.
“We can’t thank Sport England enough for recognising the potential in our vision to grow the game and providing such substantial financial support. We are also really grateful to all the facilities that allowed the follow coaching to be delivered, making the projects so successful.”
He added: “The success of these projects in introducing 2,806 new people to golf, against our target of 2,400, speaks for itself and should be recognised as a tried and tested process to growing the game. We have hopefully excited these new participants to want to continue in the game and hopefully join a club, but more importantly become a lifelong participant in a sport which brings so many health and social benefits.”