The English Golf Union (EGU) has announced a deal with the AA and AdvanceWave Limited to set up a new company to manage the commercial business of amateur golf to provide golf clubs, members, associates and, ultimately, the game of golf with a range of benefits and services.
The new company, Golf England Limited (GEL), will offer its clubs and members a range of relevant products and services from a variety of suppliers. This will generate income for GEL but also benefit clubs and members by giving special deals and creating economies of scale in the clubs. The AA’s parent company, Centrica, will hold 50.1% of the shares, the English Golf Union 30% and AdvancedWave Ltd (owned 25% by Hitachi) will take 19.9%.
GEL will set up a multi-application smart card network and make it available to England’s 1,900 golf clubs to provide:
- A central computerised register to manage handicaps for golf club members and casual golfers.
- An online tee-time booking system to enable golfers both to book ahead and source last-minute availability.
- A bulk-buying service to provide clubs with discounts on a range of goods and services.
- The option of a credit card and reward programme for individual golfers.
Golf England has been set up to generate financial and administrative benefits to clubs and members and, at the same time, provide funds to develop and promote the game. The new partnership has outlined the venture to the English Golf Union, its County Unions and affiliated clubs and will discuss further details at a series of presentations beginning in Woodhall Spa on 20th September.
Paul Baxter, chief executive of the EGU says: “This is a truly historic day for English golf. We have worked hard to open up opportunities for the game embracing information technology and we now have an exciting development that will bring real benefits to our 1,900 clubs, 800,000 members and 3 million other golfers.
“We have been seeking an appropriate partnership to help us realise our ambitions – and this has not been a simple task. I am delighted that we now have two business partners who bring substantial commercial and technical expertise to the EGU’s 80-year experience in golf.”
The EGU has assigned Paul Baxter with two other senior staff to the programme and plans to channel funds for the development of the game as a whole and within all areas and at all levels under its guidance as the Governing Body. The EGU will work closely with the English Ladies Golf Association to achieve these aims.
Keith Nelson, managing director of Golf England and business development director of the AA, says: “The AA has its heritage in membership organisations and a long-established involvement in the leisure industry through our existing publishing arm which provides leading hotel, restaurants, golf and leisure guides.
“Golf England Ltd will now begin development on a system to be installed in clubs to manage tee-time bookings and fees, and to set up a bulk-purchasing and merchandising supply operation.”
Speaking on behalf of AdvancedWave Ltd., managing director, Trevor Lafferty says: “We are pleased to be associated with the Golf England programme, which is one of the most exciting developments of an integrated lifestyle proposition in the UK today. Our strategy of deploying modern, yet proven, technology and easy-to-use services will bring a wide range of financial and other benefits to the amateur game of golf, its clubs, their members and the golf-playing public.”
English Golf Union www.englishgolfunion.org