A major drive to encourage more girls and women to take up golf is being launched across Durham. Clubs across the county are backing the scheme with special free taster sessions and low cost coaching and membership packages.
The women’s Get into golf programme will run throughout the summer at 11 clubs and will make it easier than ever for women to try a sport which offers many health and social benefits.
The free taster sessions are an ideal way to try the sport alongside other girls or ladies who are also just starting out.
Follow-up beginners coaching is available – with five lessons with a PGA qualified professional costing just £25 – while the clubs are offering low-cost membership deals to provide a warm welcome for newcomers to the sport and club life.
Taster sessions will take place from May onwards, with both midweek and weekend times available.
To make the move towards potential club membership even smoother, the clubs have appointed lady member ‘ambassadors’ to help organise more opportunities for those new to the sport to play and socialise with existing members.
All the clubs involved are looking to increase the number of females playing at their course and are hoping to follow the success of Dinsdale Spa Golf Club, who added 12 new members last year.
The template for Dinsdale’s success – which was worth more than £4,250 in additional revenue – was the team work of those involved, a well-defined pathway into potential club membership for those new to golf and an active marketing campaign, including social media and posters in the windows of local businesses.
Funding for the project has been provided by Sport England, after a successful Small Grants Bid by England Golf regional manager Jason Budd.
The clubs taking part are Bishop Auckland, Chester-le-Street, Dinsdale Spa, George Washington, Hobson, Oakleaf, Ramside Hall, South Moor, Wearside, Whickham and Woodham.
Cathy Bowerbank, a senior club mentor at Dinsdale Spa GC, says: “The ladies we recruited last year are really enjoying being members of our ladies’ section, joining in the golf and social events.
“They have made many new friends and it is very rewarding for us, as mentors who were involved, to see how much pleasure they are getting from golf.”
PGA professional Ernie Wilson, from Woodham GC, welcomed the new initiative. He says: “Golf is a fantastic game and this is a great opportunity for ladies to try out a new sport with these free of charge taster sessions.”
Anyone interested can find full details of the Get into golf sessions (with online booking available) on the website www.getintogolf.org/durham
Says Phil Graham, development officer for the Durham Golf Development Group: “Dinsdale Golf and Spa showed that by bringing together the skills and knowledge within the club and the help available to them from supporters like the Durham Golf Development Group, it is possible to have a positive impact on membership numbers.
“Taster sessions are a fantastic way to give golf a go – there is no need to feel shy! The rest of the group will be in a very similar situation to you and it is great to share the experience of learning a new skill together.
“The follow-on coaching provides expert advice on how to get the best out of your golf and again it is in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.
“Going on to become a member of a club not only provides a regular opportunity for exercise out in the fresh air, but a great social life with like-minded people, too.
“With clubs across the county supporting this initiative, there will be a course to suit you. With the light nights and, hopefully, the better weather now is the idea time to give golf a go!”
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 £25 for a five-week course.
Get into golf getintogolf.org