The English Golf Union and English Ladies’ Golf Association have published the findings of their Golf Club Membership Questionnaire 2002, with some interesting results that question the health of the game at both junior and adult level.
The main aim of the research was to assess current membership structures within affiliated golf clubs in England, identifying where resources can be best focused in the future. This research is crucial in order to set future policy and aid strategic planning, allowing a cohesive approach towards junior and adult golf development.
50% of the 1,896 affiliated golf clubs responded to the survey, which identified that a massive 89% currently have membership vacancies, totalling almost 40,000 across all junior and adult membership categories. These figures certainly dispel the perception that there are no opportunities within golf clubs and it could be argued that there has never been a better time to join a golf club. Interestingly 75% of golf clubs are actively seeking more members and many, possibly out of necessity, already run initiatives to aid this process.
Richard Flint, EGU Golf Development Manager comments, “It is our most comprehensive research to date and it is now vital to take heed of the findings and address priority areas such as the huge amount of membership vacancies, in order to help develop the game further.”
In terms of junior golf, little has changed statistically since the Millennium census in 2000. This raises the question whether even more should be done to invest in junior initiatives. It may not be as glamorous as elite golf but long-term what is being done at grass roots now will influence the health of the game in years to come. The junior percentage of total membership, vacancies, fees and barriers to entry remain similar to those identified in the census two years ago, although on a more positive note the number of golf clubs that charge a junior entrance fee and the average cost of these fees has reduced.
Sue Dennis, ELGA Secretary states, “Our affiliated golf clubs have asked for assistance and as governing bodies we must continue to work together with our clubs and counties to ensure that golf is both accessible and affordable.”
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 subjects 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 2002 Results Booklet is available in hard copy format and on the Golf Development section of the EGU website – www.englishgolfunion.org
English Golf Union www.englishgolfunion.org
English Ladies’ Golf Association www.englishladiesgolf.org