The English Golf Union (EGU) and English Women’s Golf Association (EWGA) are delighted to announce that Stonebridge Golf Club, near Solihull, has become the 300th club to receive the GolfMark award.
GolfMark, which incorporates Sport England’s ClubMark accreditation, is the national scheme which identifies and recognises junior and beginner-friendly golf facilities.
Stonebridge Golf Club has created initiatives to encourage more junior players, designed special membership packages for students and 21-26 year-old players and has been encouraging new women golfers to use the club for both their playing and social enjoyment. An academy and dedicated team of PGA professionals is also on site to welcome new players with an innovative range of coaching programmes.
Stonebridge’s PGA professionals Darren Murphy and Andy Jones have been working with the Golf Foundation, a supporter of England Golf, to take golf into primary and secondary schools in the area before arranging follow-up coaching at the club.
Stonebridge Golf Club General Manager, Mark Clarke, said: “We are delighted to receive GolfMark. The award is a badge which shows everyone in the community that we welcome beginners and provide an enjoyable environment to golfers of all ages. I believe GolfMark is an important target for any club to go for. It’s a straightforward award to attain and will really help a club to reach out to new customers, which is vital in today’s climate.”
Mark added: “We have been inspired to pull out the stops for new golfers, whether making it easier for young adults and students to play – we have a great relationship with Solihull College – or encouraging more women players, through hosting a society called ‘Stiletto Golf’, which is a social hub for new golfers who are also business women.”
Almost half of clubs in England are currently either qualifying for, or have been awarded, GolfMark. The EGU and EWGA have been impressed with the increase in clubs registering and attaining the award, particularly over the past two years.
EGU and EWGA Golf Development Manager, Richard Flint, said: “To have 300 clubs awarded GolfMark and a further 600 working towards it is a great achievement and really encouraging to the future health of golf in England. Stonebridge Golf Club should be congratulated on their efforts, hard work and support of the scheme, along with all other GolfMark facilities.”
GolfMark is open to any affiliated golf club and facilities involved in the scheme have access to a number of rewards and recognitions as detailed on the GolfMark website, www.golfmark.org, which include funding for coaching and free places on workshops.
GolfMark is an initiative jointly provided by the EGU and EWGA via England Golf’s ‘Whole Sport Plan’ for golf and is an integral part of England Golf’s vision to ‘Grow the Game’.
Stonebridge Golf Club www.stonebridgegolf.co.uk