Nomadic golfers and beginners can get free and cheap lessons and rounds in a new Golf – Sport4Life campaign which will be bigger and better than previous years as it covers the whole of April.
The Golf Development Wales scheme is part of National Golf Awareness Month, aimed at attracting nomadic and lapsed member golfers to membership as well as encouraging beginners to take up lessons or join the GDW Beginner coaching initiatives.
It was first launched before the 2010 Ryder Cup in Wales and has run for a week every year since, giving nomadic golfers and beginners the chance to have free or discounted lessons and rounds of golf to see at first hand the benefits and value of a sport for life and club membership. Now it has expanded to the month of April.
Hundreds of new members have joined as a result of the scheme, resulting in a much needed boost in funding inWalesat those clubs which have embraced the efforts to attract people into the game. The programme was described by former European Golf Association president Andy Morgan as one of the best inEurope.
It is back, thanks to funding from the R&A, and through the month of April many Welsh clubs will be hoping to encourage nomadic golfers to try out club facilities with a view to joining – along with free or discounted lessons and coaching for beginners and families.
Beginners can take part in one of the GDW’s Beginner’s Start Golfing Schemes. Many clubs in Wales are offering free taster sessions, free or low cost lessons and additional continuation lessons and trial membership offers. Details on www.golfdevelopmentwales.org/beginner_schemes/
Apart from opening their doors for discounted golf and lessons, many clubs around Wales will offer special membership deals in that week.
Some of the schemes already in place include Vale of Glamorgan schoolchildren starting free lessons after Easter at St Andrews Major golf club, while around a third of the golf clubs in Wales are already planning their offers, details available through the Golf Development Wales website.
“This is the third year we have run this campaign which has seen thousands of people get the opportunity to play golf for free, or learn, while several hundred have seen the benefits of joining a club,” said Golf Development Wales officer Zoe Thacker.
“Around the time of the Masters is traditionally seen as the first week of the new golf season, so it is the perfect time to encourage the thousands of nomadic golfers in Wales to get back out and give golf a go, along with all those people who would like to take up such a great sport for life.
“The main lesson from last year was that clubs who put most effort into Golf Awareness Week got the greatest rewards. Now there is a whole month to make the most of those opportunities.
“A single new member will be worth many thousands of pounds to a golf club over the years, so every new member will make a big difference to the future of those clubs.
“Now that the Ryder Cup has been and gone there is an emphasis on clubs working harder to build on that legacy. There is plenty of help available through Golf Development Wales and initiatives such as Golf Awareness Month if the clubs get on board.”
Over the last two years successes have included 30 ladies at a taster day at South Pembs in Pembrokeshire – with 100 per cent signing up for follow on lessons. There were 18 people who had starter lessons at Welshpool and all of them took up a trial membership. Over the two years Maesteg has attracted 27 new members, including 15 last year thanks to more than 50 free rounds of golf being played and the hard work of the club’s PGA professional Tom Davies.
“It was fantastic to be honest,” he explained. “A single new member will be worth many thousands of pounds to the golf club over the years so attracting another 15 people to join will make a big difference at a club like Maesteg and shows what can be done with the right effort and help.”
By expanding the scheme over the whole of the Easter holidays as well as parts of term-time, it is aimed at opening it up to even more schoolchildren to take part.
Golf Union of Wales www.golfunionwales.org