Enthusiasm for golf in England is growing rapidly, according to a new report. The national network of County Golf Partnerships (CGPs) encouraged more than 86,000 people to ‘Get into golf’ in the year to the end of March.
That’s an increase of over 60 per cent on the previous 12 months and the Partnerships’ success was achieved despite some atrocious weather, including the wettest summer for 100 years.
Their achievements are detailed in the latest CGP Impact Report and have won the praise of Richard Flint, the England Golf Development Manager. “These are fantastic results in challenging times,” he said.
“The Partnerships have worked very hard to encourage more people to get into golf and to continue their participation and it is great to see their efforts being rewarded. This is good news not just for the Partnerships but for golf clubs and PGA professionals who also benefit from their activities.”
The CGPs attract newcomers and returners to the game by offering free tasters and structured low-cost coaching with PGA professionals, as well as by forging relationships with universities, groups and organisations.
The Partnerships were supported by the ‘Get into golf’ marketing campaign and they proved particularly successful at attracting adults and fostering regular players. Over 50,000 of those who tried the game were aged 16-plus and more than 20,000 adults took part in once a week golfing activity.
The Partnerships’ success is also supporting the golf club economy. They report over 2000 new memberships in the past 12 months and, while these may include juniors, they have a value of more than £2m based on the average adult subscription. Meanwhile, regular participants could have contributed over £4m in the year to the end of March, based on an average annual spend of £200 per person.
The CGP network supports grass roots golf at county level and is an integral part of the England Golf Partnership’s (EGP) Whole Sport Plan for golf, which is supported by Sport England lottery funding. Their success has been growing steadily over the past four years and they have involved a total of 171,208 people in their activities since April 2009. Of these, more than 99,000 have been aged 16-plus, with more than 49,000 adults involved in regular participation.
Highlights of CGP activities over the year to March 2013 included:
Cheshire – over 1900 adults involved at taster sessions and events such as the Women’s British Open, Cycletta and the Olympic Torch relay.
Cornwall – over 1200 adults involved at city days and other events
Hampshire – structured coaching activities for over 1900 new and returning players.
Warwickshire – coaching for people with disabilities involved over 270 adults
Surrey – over 3900 adults at events and structured coaching sessions
Midlands and South West Golf Weeks – involved over 2800 people
Image: Get into golf enthusiasts at Garon Park in Essex, the GolfMark Club of the Year.