Golf at Goodwood was celebrating last night after winning the award of England’s Most Welcoming Golf Club, sponsored by American Golf.
The Sussex club was honoured at the England Golf Awards 2018, sponsored by Bridgestone, which highlighted all that’s great about golf in England.
Around 500 guests attended the glittering, black-tie event at the Royal Lancaster London and applauded the club for its outstanding success in attracting new players and members from all backgrounds, offering a warm welcome to all visitors and becoming part of the local community.
The judges were impressed by Golf at Goodwood’s focus on its customers and providing what they want. They also praised the club’s innovative ideas to attract fantastic numbers of new golfers and the way it retains existing members.
Assistant manager Gary Beves said: “It’s wonderful to get this recognition. Just being nominated was great, but winning the award and being recognised in this way for the work we do is a great accomplishment.”
Golf at Goodwood has a special focus on attracting women and youngsters and it has been rewarded with a junior section of 100 members and over 300 female members.
But all golfers are given the Goodwood welcome, which Gary sums up: “We try to create an invigorating and inspirational atmosphere and environment for men, women and children to come and play and try the game.”
Last year the club successfully attracted 299 new members, while retaining a very impressive 92% of its existing members. Although it now has a waiting list, its Get into Golf membership continues to be available to new players and juniors are also able to join the club.
The club is noted for its work with 50 local schools, giving children a taste of the game and then offering coaching opportunities. It also showcases the game at community events in West Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey. Anyone can visit the club for a free taster and to find out about coaching and group lessons.
Golf at Goodwood’s success in attracting women into the game has much to do with focussing on the social side of golf and also by encouraging health club members to try the game.
“Everything we do is around driving participation and trying to get more people involved in the game,” said Gary. “We want to create a feel good environment and welcome people from all walks of life.”
The club also sets out to create a great golfing experience for existing members. It offers a regular Wednesday Welcome to new members and those who haven’t played much, to get them on the course, get to know the staff and to make friends and arrange games. A date in March has been set aside for a drinks reception and a Texas scramble for new members who have joined over the winter. A members’ WhatsApp group helps people find games and a members’ representative group provides feedback to the club.
“We all love golf,” said Gary. “But it’s a lot better when you’re sharing it with other people.”
Caption: Golf at Goodwood General Manager Stuart Gillett (right) receives the Most Welcoming Club award from Elliot Fleming, Head of New Business Development at American Golf.
The other finalists for the award were: Burghill Valley Golf Club, Herefordshire, Garforth Golf Club, Yorkshire, and Norwood Park Golf Centre, Nottinghamshire.
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