The England Golf Partnership (EGP) has welcomed a £13 million grant from Sport England to continue to develop the sport over the four years from 2013-17.
The grant is an increase on the £12.5 million core funding award for the current period and will support programmes to encourage more people to start and stay in golf and to nurture talented players.
Roger Moreland, the EGP’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We are very pleased with this level of financial support from Sport England and look forward to working with them to maximise their investment and to build on our successes of the past four years.”
The grant is part an investment of almost half a billion pounds in grassroots sport, announced this wek by Sport England. It is intended to keep the inspiration of London 2012 alive and help fulfil Lord Coe’s pledge that the Games would get more people playing sport, a feat that no other host nation has ever managed to achieve.
SportEngland’s Director of Sport, Phil Smith commented on the grant for golf: “This investment reflects the progress the EGP has made in getting more people playing golf and developing talent within the sport.
“Whilst there are challenges in keeping people playing golf in the current economic climate, we are confident that the EGP will continue to demonstrate leadership and innovation within the sport to ensure the number of people playing grows.”
The 2013-17 Whole Sport Plan for golf, which will be rolled out from April, includes plans to encourage more people with a disability to take up golf and focuses on providing opportunities for people older than 26 to take up the game and play more often. In addition, the plan contains proposals for increasing the number of young people aged 14-25 playing the game.
Roger Moreland added: “There are many challenges in golf, not least those of the weather and of the economic climate, but we are excited about the prospects for the coming four years, which will include the return of golf to the Olympic movement.
“This award is a vote of confidence in our achievements to date and we will continue to work to make golf welcoming, accessible and a sport that offers fun and value to those who want to play.”
The current four-year plan has shaped a successful period for golf development, during which a network of County Golf Partnerships became established and created a significant increase in golf participation.
Their activities, to direct new and returning golfers to structured PGA coaching and playing opportunities, are enhanced by working with pro-active, affordable and accessible golf centres and by a better understanding of the requirements of golfers and would-be players. In the last year a pilot marketing campaign, Get into Golf, has promoted activity with one clear message.
Since the current plan began in April 2009, over 154,000 people have tried golf at taster and coaching sessions, of whom more than 85,000 were aged over 16. To date, 4200 new memberships have been reported as being created as a direct result of their activity.
These numbers have accelerated as the CGPs have become more customer-focussed. The latest CGP Impact Report shows that in the year to the end of September 2012, over 70,000 people tried golf – almost double the number in the in 2011. In the same period the number of adults playing golf regularly as a result of being involved in CGP activity increased by eight per cent.
Meanwhile, England Golf’s 2012 golf club membership questionnaire has revealed that, although golf club membership dropped overall, 25 per cent of clubs have experienced an increase in membership in the last two years. These clubs are being examined in detail to establish how they are achieving success.
England Golf Partnership www.englandgolfpartnership.com
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