The men and women’s organisations on the island have come together to form Isle of Man Golf, a united campaign to grow the sport and support the eight clubs on the island.
The island is only the second region of England to merge the men and women’s organisations, following Northamptonshire, although at national level both sides of the sport are now represented by England Golf, while next year will see the R&A and the Ladies Golf Union become one body.
The merger of the two organisations means just one body is now responsible for the promotion and development of golf on the island, where there are more than 2,500 active club members already. However it is hoped the new partnership will grow this figure.
Melanie Jansen (pictured) has been appointed IOM golf development officer to help encourage more people to take up golf and to increase club membership.
Melanie is a Chartered Accountant by profession, but holds coaching qualifications in a number of sports, and has been one of the driving forces behind the Western Swimming Pool Board over the last 14 years.
Daughter Breeshey is the IOM Ladies Champion and a member of the England Regional Performance Squad, while her other children, Pheric and Dollin, are also keen golfers at the Peel Juniors Section.
Melanie remarked: “We are so fortunate to have eight wonderful affiliated golf courses on the Island, each playing an important role in our community and Island life.
“IOM Golf is keen to work alongside and support our clubs in their future development and success by the promotion of the sport and ensuring that golf is made more accessible to all.
“It is still a constant struggle for clubs to come up with new ideas, innovative membership fees and to now realise that more footfall is needed in the clubhouse.
“This challenge is not unique as, across the UK, golf clubs have been struggling to bring in more members. But the tide is turning and golf, quite rightly, is attracting new players.
“Some of these are the time-poor 25-45 year olds who don’t want to spend five hours playing, so clubs are being more creative in holding competitions over nine holes to allow people to play, socialise a bit and then get back to work or family.
“More ladies are playing and this is very encouraging as they see it not only as a competitive sport, but also as a good arena for social interaction.
“Social events in the evenings, including golf for families, are attractive, bringing more people through the door of the clubhouse, which again creates opportunities for membership to increase.”
She added: “The days of a golf club being able to operate successfully purely based on membership are long gone and our golf clubs need to review activities in order to survive against competition from other activities or sports.”
Isle of Man Golf President Geoff Skillicorn commented: “Not only is the focus on making our better players even better through defined coaching, encouraging play in more challenging competitions, and achieving success at national and international level, but also at the start of the golfing journey in encouraging our junior golfers by working more with our schools and colleges.”
Gary Jakeman is the new General Secretary. He is also the Chairman of the Island Games Association, and has recently retired from his role as ICT Manager at QEII School.
The work of the development group is supported by Manx Sport & Recreation, who have identified golf as a key community sport.
For more information contact Melanie Jansen, golf development officer for Isle of Man Golf, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The organisation has revamped its website – www.isleofmangolf.im – to provide an invaluable source of information.