England Golf is doubling up on its efforts to grow the sport in Yorkshire with the appointment of a second development officer to support the work of clubs and driving ranges.
Emily Cheshire will team up with Tom Freeland with a brief to attract more players, increase membership and develop stronger clubs across the region.
The county’s golf facilities are already backing England Golf’s strategic plan to create a brighter future for the sport. ‘Raising our Game’ includes supporting clubs to introduce newcomers to the sport through coaching for beginners and providing a positive pathway into club membership.
The work going on in the county sees the Yorkshire Union of Golf Clubs and the Yorkshire County Ladies’ Golf Association working closely with the area’s PGA professionals, while England Golf is now providing additional resource with the appointment of a second county development officer.
They are all part of the of the new Yorkshire Golf Development Group, which will focus attention on attracting people to the sport and into club membership, and on providing the right support for clubs as it builds on the work of the previous County Golf Partnership.
Emily, 21, will be working alongside Tom Freeland and England Golf Senior Regional Manager, Richard Brown, to develop and deliver national initiatives and programmes to make golf more accessible to people of all ages and abilities.
This includes supporting clubs with two initiatives – the Get into golf campaign and the achievement of the GolfMark standard. Both promote a more inclusive and friendly approach towards newcomers, ensuring they can play golf regularly. The two CDOs will also support clubs in areas such as the retention of existing members.
Emily has recently graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Sport Business Management from Leeds Beckett University, where she also played for the University golf team.
She says: “I first started playing golf aged six, with junior group coaching at the club where my mum and dad played. I gained my first handicap aged 11 and my game developed and improved over the years with help and support from the club and county structure.
“At university I studied various modules including sports marketing and organisational change, while completing my own major independent study (dissertation) entitled Golf and Gender. My research gave me a greater understanding of equality issues within the sport and I learnt from other female golfers about how golf clubs can change for a more inclusive future.
“The role of Yorkshire CDO couldn’t be better suited to my skills and personality. Golf has developed my life skills and I can’t wait to engage with clubs to make golf more accessible within the county, to be played and enjoyed by all.”
Emily and Tom have divided the territory between them, based on the Inter District Unions. Emily will support clubs in East Riding; Huddersfield & Halifax; Sheffield and York. Tom will support clubs in Bradford; Harrogate; Leeds and Teesside.
Richard Brown, England Golf Senior Regional Manager, says: “The additional capacity shows the commitment of England Golf to ensure a healthy future for the sport and will enable us to support more clubs across Yorkshire, driving the More Players, More Members and Stronger Club elements of the Strategic Plan.
“The Golf Development Group will also begin to create a County Plan for Golf, which will benefit the sport across the area.
“This is an exciting development and will see the new group build on the foundations laid down by the County Golf Partnership to make it even easier for people to give golf a go in Yorkshire and to enjoy the many health and social benefits the sport can bring, particularly as a member of a club.”