The “Free Golf Coaching” campaign run by the English Golf Union (EGU) and English Ladies’ Golf Association (ELGA) is proving a great success in introducing new players to golf and keeping them in the game, according to the latest research.
The campaign introduces thousands of beginners to golf each year – in 2006 over 7,600 people took part – and they are invited to take part in online research 6, 12, 18 and 24 months after their initial taster session.
The results show that 18 months after their introduction to the sport through Free Golf Coaching, 67 per cent of respondents are still playing golf. Of those, 84 per cent are visiting driving ranges and 45 per cent are actively booking golf lessons.
Beginners’ confidence to play a round of golf seems to increase with time. The number getting on to the course increases slightly from 66 per cent after six months, to 68 per cent after 18 months.
The campaign also represents an excellent recruitment tool for golf club membership with 32 per cent of respondents joining a club within 12 months of their initial taster session. Results also show that the likelihood that beginners will graduate to full club membership increases considerably from 12 per cent, six months after their session, to 55 per cent after 18 months.
Financial incentives to join a club, such as ‘No joining fee’ or ‘Special membership offers/discounts’ are highlighted as real inducements for anyone considering joining a golf club as cost appears to be the main barrier to becoming a club member. 60 per cent stated that club membership is unlikely to be their next step as it is ‘too expensive’.
The research also highlights that those no longer participating in golf specify ‘time constraints’ as a major factor for them not doing so.
The EGU/ELGA research will continue to monitor Free Golf Coaching participants and more detailed information from the 18 and 24 months surveys will be available in 2008.
Any EGU or ELGA affiliated golf club can take part in the Free Golf Coaching for Beginners campaign. They will receive a £200 grant to run a series of sessions, which are delivered by PGA professionals, to help introduce beginners to the sport and to provide a small taste of the golf club environment. To view which golf clubs are participating in 2007 visit www.getintogolf.org.
Free Golf Coaching for Beginners is an initiative jointly provided by the EGU and ELGA via England Golf’s ‘Whole Sport Plan’ for golf and is an integral part of England Golf’s vision to ‘Grow the Game’.