Independent Golfer update: 19 February

In a letter sent to all affiliated golf clubs, England Golf has provided its latest weekly update on the connectivity platform being developed for independent golfers. The full correspondence is published below:

Good afternoon.

Welcome to the latest club update on the development of an independent golfer connectivity platform.

When launched, this platform will offer non-members of golf clubs an official handicap index and personal liability insurance.

The initial aim is to inspire golfers to play more often and to increase the connection between an avid, independent golfer and their local club/facility.

We will create a best-in-class platform with the ultimate goal of educating independent golfers on the value of golf club membership and inspiring them to follow this pathway to greater participation.

Working group update

At the latest weekly meeting of the working group the issue of naming options for the platform was revisited.

It was agreed that any name must speak to the target audience, offer clarity, a sense of belonging and, hopefully, create a desire for independent golfers to join.

Supportive messaging and tag lines must naturally flow regarding a connectivity pathway to golf clubs.

Two names are now under final consideration.

The working group also started to discuss in detail what role counties will play once the platform is up and running and how they may be able to support the golf club connectivity process going forward.

Personal liability insurance

There is a clear consensus for personal liability insurance to be included as part of the independent golfer offer.

Since July 2019, golf club members paying affiliation fees to England Golf have enjoyed a member benefit of £10 million of personal liability insurance to cover incidents at any UK golf facility.

This insurance cover provides financial protection for golf club members and since launch the policy has been called upon to settle a number of claims.

It feels right and appropriate to extend the insurance cover and peace of mind to independent golfers who join the new platform.

Study of independent golfers

In devising the new platform, it is vital to understand the profile of an independent golfer.

The target market for this platform is typically a golfer who, in the last year, has played golf twice a month or more in peak season. There is a competitive edge to their games with family and friends which leads to an interest in gaining an official WHS handicap.

The demographic is different to golf club members in that there is a higher percentage of women as well as a larger number of players in the under 45 age group.

A proportion of lapsed members also form part of this group. They are not new to the game and bring existing knowledge of golf club membership, rules, etiquette and the club environment.

Our research shows that this group of golfers is interested in golf club membership if they can find a value proposition.

Ongoing support for golf club memberships

On Thursday 18 February, members of the working group held separate online forums with club delegates arranged by Hampshire and Norfolk county unions.

A question was posed concerning the promotional support potentially on offer from England Golf to direct independent golfers towards club membership.

It was confirmed that a fundamental aim of the new platform is to provide that clear pathway to club membership.

As well as building a new connectivity platform, there is also a strong commitment from England Golf to help clubs recruit and retain new members – many of whom have come on board in the last year.

The ‘Membership: Give It a Shot’ campaign launched in June 2020 is more pertinent now than ever.

Participation and a return for many to previously played sports will begin again over the next couple of months.  Our Club Support Officer network will be advising and providing resources to clubs who request support in this area.

We will be contacting clubs ahead of the start of the season with exciting developments for 2021.

Find all Independent Golfer updates here