One of the UK’s largest golf groups is getting proactive about pace of play, with a high-visibility, long-term programme now in place at all venues.
In plans laid before the R&A published its Pace Of Play (May 2016) guidelines, Glendale Golf – which operates seven public golf centres across the UK – has implemented three new group-wide initiatives with immediate effect, with its new ‘Get Ready Golf’ programme at the heart of the campaign.
Widespread signage featuring the ‘Get Ready Golf’ slogan is now being displayed at all Glendale Golf centres, giving customers six friendly tips on time-efficient golf. Posters, banners and notices are prominent in clubhouses and pro shops, at reception desks, and on all first tees.
The group is also emailing more than 50,000 golfers on its database, encouraging them to take personal steps to respond to the request. Its websites and social media accounts will also carry the promotion extensively.
Simultaneously, Glendale Golf has modified its tee sheet booking system to allow for more 9-hole tee times on weekdays, with a more flexible approach to 9-hole golf now implemented group-wide.
The group has also announced a new Glendale 9-Hole Summer League at all venues. The summer-long tournament requires no official handicap or membership, and offers golfers an informally-competitive stepping stone into the sport. The overall Summer League winner from each venue will win a year’s membership.
“People come to golf centres to have fun, so we can’t afford to get too heavy-handed about this, but we’re making Get Ready Golf part of our culture – this is a long-term commitment at all of our venues” said Tom Brooke, Managing Director of Glendale Golf.
“As operators of public golf centres we feel a sense of responsibility to produce new golfers, as well as increase playing frequency among existing golfers. In our annual survey last year, our customers told us loud and clear that slow play is both a barrier to entry for newcomers, and a reason for traditional golfers to play less frequently.
“It’s not just our own customers who hate slow play of course. The subject has frequently come in other recent national golf surveys, so we are taking firm action.
“People just have insufficient leisure time, these days, for five-hour rounds. As an industry we simply have to cut an hour from the average round of golf, somehow. At Glendale Golf, all of our staff are now geared up to attack this target.”
Glendale Golf’s last participation drive – a summer 2015 festival designed to attract a minimum 100 complete newcomers to each of its venues – proved highly successful, with the 700-golfer target smashed within a month, and over 2,000 first-time visitors by the end of the campaign.
Glendale Golf www.glendale-golf.co.uk