Glendale Golf, which operates seven public golf centres across the UK, is celebrating after a recent Golf Festival attracted well over 700 newcomers to its facilities.
The company had given staff at each of its centres a clear goal: devise and run a Golf Festival in August, banish the stereotypically stuffy image of golf, and attract at least 100 out-and-out first-time golfers to your centre.
The staff responded by delivering an emphatic success. By the end of August over 2,000 people had made their first-ever visit to a Glendale Golf centre, with approaching 1,000 of them trying golf for the very first time.
Star performers were Tilgate Forest in West Sussex, which created over 200 new golfers, and Richmond Park in London, where 173 people hit a golf ball for the very first time. In the north-west, Duxbury Park in Chorley attracted 149 first-timers, and Nottingham’s Edwalton Golf Centre also soared well past the 100 new golfer mark.
The Glendale Golf centres at Portsmouth, Beckenham and Castle Point in Essex each also attracted over 100 first-time visitors during the Festival.
Each centre engaged with local community leaders to invite people to use Glendale Golf facilities for a variety of fun events, both golf-themed and non-golf, during August this year.
The result? August 2015 at Glendale Golf centres rocked with live music events, craft fairs, children’s attractions and other family entertainment enlivening the golf centres alongside the golf camps, free beginner lessons and family fun golf challenges which encouraged people to have their first go at golf.
“It was a knockout success” said Tom Brooke, Managing Director of Glendale Golf. “Seeing our golf centres brimming with new faces this summer put everybody on a high, and our people did a superlative job in getting so many people to try golf for the first time.
“It proves that golf can still get people off their sofas, and prise them away from their mobile phone screens, if you make it fun enough. Particularly parents! Across our golf centres we provided hundreds of them with free outdoor entertainment for their children this summer, and they embraced it. Now, we must follow up on this terrific start, and work on persuading people to come back again and again, and to take – one day – their first steps on the main golf course”.
Not all activities were based at the golf centres. Many Glendale Golf staff also gave free golf taster lessons in parks and community centres throughout August, producing a wealth of individual success stories of all sizes during the group-wide Festival.
Tilgate Forest GC golf professional Lea Cooper, for example, gave 90 free taster lessons in a single day in Tilgate Park; Duxbury Park attracted 140 non-golfers to try golf for the first time in a single Fun Day; and Edwalton GC’s golf professional Mark Taylor persuaded over 100 complete newcomers to hit their first-ever golf shots on a ‘Lark In The Park’ day in Nottingham.
At Richmond Park in London, PGA professionals Stuart Hill and Chris Bennions not only hosted a series of Summer Camps for first-time juniors aged between 5 and 8 years old, but they also persuaded seven of the children’s mothers to begin a ladies’ complete beginners group class every Saturday morning.
So does Glendale Golf’s success point towards an industry-wide initiative in 2016?
“Imagine if there had been a coordinated Festival across all golf clubs in England, Scotland and Wales this summer, which achieved the same level of success” said Brooke. “We would now be celebrating well over a quarter of a million newcomers in a single month, which would be cause for great optimism across this industry.
“There is constant talk about growing the game of golf. To me, what our managers and staff achieved in August demonstrates that it is simply about identifying clear targets at a local level, supplying guidance and motivation, and then giving people freedom to be creative as they set about hitting their goals”.
Tom Brooke continued: “I think Glendale Golf has shown that attracting 100 newcomers to golf during the summer holidays is a simple target which, given a reasonable amount of determination, I believe most golf clubs in the UK could achieve. The task then, of course, would be to retain them as golfers, but imagine what we could do as a sport with the corresponding leap in participation”.
Glendale Golf www.glendalegolf.co.uk