The Golf Express campaign promotes 9-hole golf and has proved a quick-fire success since it was launched in Staffordshire in May. Already, over 1,000 people have taken advantage of 9-hole green fees and after-work roll-ups.
They include Spencer Williams of Barlaston Golf Club, who remarked: “I think Golf Express is brilliant because it fits in with people’s busy lifestyles and definitely fits mine!”
Chris Jones from Westwood Golf Club added: “Golf Express is what golf needs. It fits not only with time, but also cost and makes it more accessible for me to play more on a weekly basis.”
Golf Express is being backed by 23 clubs across Staffordshire, offering 9-hole green fees and a loyalty card. In addition, 13 of the clubs offer the opportunity to play in weekly, after-work roll-ups which are open to non-members and non-handicappers.
Mark Butler, from the Mark Butler Golf Academy in Sedgely, commented: “Golf Express has energised our complex and we believe our rounds this year are up so far.”
The initiative has captured widespread attention and been featured on Sky Sports TV and Midlands TV as well as local radio and national golf media.
Gareth Shaw, Staffordshire County Development Officer, says: “The response to Golf Express has been fantastic with more than 1,000 people getting involved and clubs across the county offering a new way into the sport for people trying to juggle the demands of family and work life.”
Iain Lancaster, Regional Manager for England Golf, added: “The time it takes to play the game is a barrier to the sport. We want to get out the message that clubs are making it possible to play shorter rounds of golf to suit your available leisure time and this will appeal to players new to the game, existing golfers and even lapsed golfers.”
Golf Express is part of an England Golf project which is trialling innovative ways of increasing golf club membership and participation in the sport. It recognises that most people’s leisure time is reducing and for many it can be as little as two hours a day.
Research from Syngenta, the golf course turf care specialist, shows that 54% of golfers are intimidated by 18 holes of golf and a 9-hole option gives the golfer choice.
The clubs involved in Golf Express are: Barlaston, Bloxwich, Branston, Calderfields, Cannock Park, Darnford Moor, Dartmouth, Druids Heath, Izaak Walton, Lakeside, Lichfield, Mark Butler Golf Academy, Newcastle, Onneley, Oxley Park, Perton Park, Stafford Castle, Stone, The Chase, Trentham Park, 3 Hammers, Uttoxeter and Westwood.
Get into golf is a national campaign to inspire new golfers run by England Golf through its county network. Opportunities include beginner and follow-on courses with PGA professionals. They are a fun and sociable way to start golf – and a great way to make new friends. Lessons can cost as little as £20 for a four-week course.
Get into golf www.getintogolf.org