Over the summer months, County Golf Partnerships (CGPs) throughout England have been working hard to provide a range of taster sessions and structured coaching opportunities enabling 36,083 participants to ‘Get into Golf’, the highest number of participants within a six-month period since the start of the Whole Sport Plan in 2009.
The England Golf Partnership (EGP) has developed the CGP network to support grass roots golf and through the Whole Sport Plan for Golf funded by Sport England, provide a significant level of investment to the partnerships.
All 32 CGPs inEnglandhave been running structured programmes and activities with particular focus on participants aged 16 years plus, of which 19,938 have been involved within the last six months. With all CGPs working closely with PGA professionals, the best available structured coaching ensures new and existing players can enjoy their golf experience.
Teaming up with their golf clubs, the CGPs have targeted specific market groups, using a wide range of promotional methods and working with other sports and County Sports Partnerships.
For example, the Surrey CGP has been particularly successful with its ‘GolfMIX’ programme, which has utilised Twitter to help promote its inclusive activities, resulting in 3,307 adults attending sessions of which 722 have attended further coaching and 225 have joined a golf club to date.
The Norfolk CGP has continued to run its rolling ‘Get Back Into’ project supported by the County Sports Partnership, offering eight-week structured sessions for adults. Combined with community promotional work and taster sessions, this programme provides the ideal follow-on for adults looking to take up the sport.
Across the CGPs, some 9,791 people aged 16 years plus have been involved in regular participation as a direct result of this work since April 2011 and this figure is expected to increase. Encouragingly, 926 new memberships have been reported by CGPs over the last six months, providing a financial return to golf clubs of £637,134 (based on an average annual membership fee of £688.05).
Richard Flint, EGU/EWGA Golf Development Manager, said: “CGPs are fundamental to grass roots development and are highly significant in helping the EGP in its objective to ‘Grow the Game’.CountyDevelopmentOfficers are a fantastic resource for county golf, developing relationships with facilities which in turn are providing some fantastic results.
“CGPs are delivering some innovative, structured programmes which are not only bringing new people into the game but are also retaining existing players to help keep the sport healthy at all levels.”
The EGP has emphasised the importance of growing 16 plus participation, which has resulted in a 94% increase in overall participation in CGP activities compared with the equivalent period in 2010 and a 274% increase in 16 plus activity levels. Since April 2009, CGPs have introduced 65,478 participants to the game of golf of which 33,598 have been aged 16 years plus.
The CGP Impact Report April 2011 to September 2011 detailing examples of recruitment and retention activities can be downloaded from the EGU website, www.englishgolfunion.org/cgps