Tilgate Forest in Crawley, which is run by Glendale Golf, wants to focus on attracting young people to help stimulate interest in the sport on the back of Europe’s Ryder Cup success.
The club has launched a golfing academy focusing on developing junior players and is offering weekly coaching sessions for youngsters.
It is also working with schools and local community groups to offer free golf sessions for students and people with learning difficulties.
In June 2013 Tilgate Forest opened a new £1million clubhouse, which was built with the aim of improving access for the local community and includes a new pro-shop, function suite, bar and restaurant.
A new driving range has also been opened, with introductory offers aimed at beginners, and larger holes have been installed at the par 3 course to appeal to children and families.
According to a 2013 report by Syngenta, ‘Growing Golf in the UK’, an additional 12 million people would be interested in taking up golfing if the sport was more accessible.
Dan Lucking, centre manager for Glendale Golf said: “It’s our hope that the coaching sessions and the improved facilities will make golf less intimidating, particularly to younger people.
“One of the difficulties with taking up golf as a new sport is that you can’t really teach yourself, and often people will give up when they don’t see any improvement. The coaching sessions aim to tackle this and the academy will develop talent in youngsters to keep them interested.
“We’re actually in a prime position at the moment because The Ryder Cup and the success of Rory McIlroy has piqued people’s interest in golf, but we need to capitalise on that and drive it forward.”
Glendale Golf is committed to removing any ‘barriers to entry’ for new starters at its courses. Tilgate Forest is a Pay and Play course and provides equipment hire to those who don’t own their own golf clubs. It also offers reduced rates for juniors and seniors.
Glendale Golf www.glendalegolf.co.uk
Tilgate Forest www.glendalegolf.co.uk/Tilgate-Forest-Golf-Centre