The English Golf Union and English Ladies‘ Golf Association have published the findings of their Golf Club Membership Questionnaire 2004, with some interesting results that continue to examine the health of the game at both junior and, especially, adult level.
The main aim of the research was to assess current membership structures within affiliated golf clubs in England and to identify where resources can be best focused in the future, allowing a cohesive approach towards junior and adult golf development.
Of the 1,915 affiliated golf clubs 54%responded to the survey, which again identified that a massive 89% currently have membership vacancies, this time totalling almost 47,000 across all junior and adult membership categories (this could equate to 86,904 vacancies throughout all golf clubs in England). These figures certainly dispel the perception that there are no opportunities within golf clubs. Interestingly 75% of golf clubs are actively seeking more members and many already run initiatives to aid this process.
Richard Flint, EGU Golf Development Manager comments, “This research is crucial to the game and continues to support the EGU’s strategic planning in golf development”
In terms of junior golf a number of positive trends have emerged. The amount of golf clubs offering staggered transition fees has increased and only 17% now charge juniors an entrance fee. There has been a reduction in the number of golf clubs requiring juniors to meet a certain standard before playing on the course and more golf clubs now have a junior organiser specifically for the girls‘ section. There has also been an increase in the percentage of golf clubs operating a junior handicapping scheme and an increase in golf clubs allowing juniors to enter adult competitions.
Kirstie Jennings, ELGA National Girls Development Officer states, “Within ELGA counties, the information from ongoing research has been invaluable in addressing priority areas and developing best practice.”
The research covers a variety of other topics such as waiting lists, joining procedures, handicaps and competitions and contains county breakdowns and general targets. It also questions a number of issues such as the standard and accessibility of facilities, different types of membership to help retain youngsters and the strength of junior structures within golf clubs.
The Golf Club Membership Questionnaire 2004 results booklet is available in hard copy format and is on the golf development section of the EGU website under ‘statistics‘ – www.englishgolfunion.org