Ladies are taking up golf at a rate of almost two to one compared to men, through one of the new schemes set up in Wales thanks to the Ryder Cup.
The Golf Development Wales New2Golf results shows that as some golf clubs experience the tough economic times, they have to adapt, promote new opportunities to the community and change in line with different circumstances.
In the two years New2Golf has been running, around 1800 new people tried the game and have gone on to become New2Golf members, with more than 1,000 of those being women and girls. From the sample surveyed, over 60% joined the club as members.
It shows how the impact of hosting the Ryder Cup – and in particular setting up Golf Development Wales – continues to help Welsh golf clubs through difficult times, as long as they are prepared to change in line with new trends.
The most important thing about the decision to join a golf club was the friendliness of that club, as well as friends and family already being members.
While golf club membership is declining across the UK, clubs working closely with Golf Development Wales through the Business Support Scheme have increased membership by just under 10%, improved turnover by 5% and visitors by 17% in the first year.
“These new figures for New2Golf are just a start, but they show an interesting trend,” explained Golf Union of Wales director of development, Hannah Fitzpatrick.
“Across the board in the UK membership of golf clubs is down slightly as people become more nomadic in the way they play, but there are huge benefits in golf club membership and it is a question of getting that message across as well as attracting new people to the game.
“In particular there are great benefits for clubs who work closely with us to develop golf in their areas, because it is such a great sport for life that people can take up and experience all the benefits for so many years.
“New2Golf is aimed at Men, Ladies, Boys and Girls, but it was not set up to target any one particular group – which is what makes these results so interesting.
“Clubs who are prepared to embrace the changing face of the sport who are doing well.
“We also work closely with many clubs through the Business Support Scheme which is having a positive impact as well.
“All these stories are good for the golf clubs that are changing, good for the sport, but also good for the people taking up a game that will keep them active for the rest of their lives.”
New2Golf is a promotional scheme for clubs and professionals which encourages participants to get hooked on golf quicker through the use of coaching vouchers, insurance and much more.
Each New2Golf member will receive a pack that includes a rules and etiquette pocket reminders and welcome book, 50% off a lesson voucher, 6 for the price of 5 lesson voucher, friend or family lesson voucher, £1 million public liability insurance (adults only), 25% off golfers insurance through CCV, amongst other benefits.
In the 2 years since New2Golf was launched, including the initial pilot period, 1796 people have taken up the membership, 776 ladies, 429 boys, 290 men and 301 girls.
Thanks to Wales hosting the Ryder Cup 200,000 people have had the chance to give golf a try, over 5,000 newly trained volunteers are having an effect at clubs week in, week out, while 38 new facilities all around Wales continue to thrive in developing the game.
For details on New2Golf, please go to http://www.golfdevelopmentwales.org and click on Beginners and Golfers.