County Golf Partnerships (CGPs) are playing an increasingly important role in growing the game in England.
The England Golf Partnership has set up 32 CGPs since 2005. Each one has a County Development Officer (CDO) who links all the elements of golf in their county to help increase the number of beginners from all ages and circumstances, retain more golfers in clubs and help develop pathways for players to progress.
CGPs were established to deliver the national objectives for the game at a local level and they now regularly share best practice and resources with each other under the guidance of the England Golf Partnership (EGP), which is a partnership between the English Golf Union (EGU), English Women’s Golf Association (EWGA), the PGA, and supported by the Golf Foundation and Sport England.
2010 marks the second year of the current EGP funding plan for CGPs, which has helped them to access £600,000 in external grants in addition to the £3.5 million allocated to CGPs by the EGP between 2009 and 2013. This has created projects all over the country, from women’s taster sessions in Durham in the North to a disability initiative in South-East counties.
A further measure of progress is the role of CGPs in helping clubs to attain GolfMark, the EGU/EWGA scheme which identifies and recognises junior and beginner-friendly golf facilities and incorporates Sport England’s ClubMark accreditation. There are currently 335 golf clubs that have attained GolfMark and over 600 are in the process of accreditation.
EGU and EWGA Golf Development Manager, Richard Flint, said: “Partnership work may not always provide headline grabbing stories nationally but at a local level, CGPs and their development officers have been able to blend their skill and enthusiasm with expertise from the PGA, EGU, EWGA and the Golf Foundation to create some brilliant initiatives for growing the game. A real momentum is growing and CDOs should be proud of their hard work and their ability to work well in partnerships.”
Examples of successful CGP projects include:
- Durham CGP ran women’s adult taster sessions and follow-on sessions at six golf clubs – resulting in 175 new participants. A Junior Golf Tour in 2009 attracted 250 boys and girls aged 11 and under.
- A number of disability projects have been run through the ‘Feel Inspired Campaign’ in the South East County Golf Partnerships, with a total of 235 people attending.
- The Worcestershire & Hereford CGP is managing the borough council municipal Pitcheroak Golf Course and has recruited 150 new members.
- Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Kent, and Suffolk CGPs sourced a total of more than £22,000 of regional external funding to encourage golfers who were new or returning to the game (including more than 630 adults).
- Surrey CGP provided 12 clubs with £150 each for ‘Girls Start Up’ projects with 120 girls taking part.
- Sussex CGP offered 20 clubs funding for ‘Turn to Golf’ family schemes, with 243 participants.
- Warwickshire CGP ran a County Golf Month with 11 venues offering coaching sessions. Some 270 adults and 123 juniors took part and 31 have since joined golf clubs.
All CGPs can now benefit from a free website development and management service provided by the EGP, allowing them to communicate with all county golfers, while benefiting from national news, information and IT support. It is hoped this service will provide a platform to further extend the reach of CGPs to find new golfers.
The support and development of CGPs is part of the England Golf Partnership’s ‘Whole Sport Plan’ for golf and is an integral part of the EGP’s vision to ‘Grow the Game’.
England Golf Partnership www.englandgolfpartnership.com