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:
Welcome to the latest club update on the development of an independent golfer connectivity platform.
Since January, a working group has consulted with clubs, counties and other stakeholders on plans to develop the platform for independent golfers with the ultimate aim of driving golf club membership.
With the final business model now agreed and in place, England Golf can now confirm details of the connectivity platform.
What is the offer to independent golfers?
Independent golfers (non-members of golf clubs) will be offered the chance to join a new digital community of golfers aligned to England Golf.
For an annual subscription of £40, golfers will receive the following:
- A World Handicap System handicap index
- Personal liability insurance
- Access to the ‘My England Golf’ app to post scores, track progress and engage with friends
Who will be able to join the independent golfer platform and what are the terms of subscription?
The scheme will be open to all golfers regardless of age.
The following basic terms will apply:
- Subscription is open to any golfer with a home address in England.
- Any golfer who has left a golf club within the last six months will not be eligible to subscribe.
- Registration will take place online for a 12-month rolling subscription.
- Subscribers will sit outside of the current affiliation framework (including membership of the county).
- County and national events will remain open to golf club members only. If clubs wish to create an independent golfer-only competition or, alternatively, integrate them into some or all of the existing club competitions, this would be at their discretion.
England Golf will carry out all administration duties with no burden of work on clubs or counties.
How will golfers joining the new platform obtain/maintain a handicap index?
- Golfers can obtain a handicap index by submitting scores from 54 holes of golf played in accordance with the Rules of Handicapping.
- Scores counting towards the 54-hole total can come from any combination of nine and 18-hole scores.
- All rounds must be pre-registered on the ‘My EG’ app and, on completion, digitally verified by a playing partner who is either a golf club member or subscriber to the new platform.
- Lapsed golf club members may be allocated a handicap index based on scores in the system dating back to January 2018.
The integrity of the handicap system will be maintained through a robust system of checks and balances. These include:
- Processes on the app
- Setting up of a national independent golfer handicap committee
- Educating on rules of handicapping, rules of golf and etiquette
- Opportunity for peer review
What is the timeline for the launch of the new platform?
The provisional launch date and opening for registration is early July.
What opportunities will exist for clubs who choose to actively engage with subscribers to the new programme?
A simple process will be put in place for clubs to notify England Golf of opportunities they wish to promote to this audience. This may, for example, include the following:
- Green fee promotions
- Competition and event entry
- Club membership offers
England Golf will communicate directly with golfers interested in exploring these offers and provide a platform to share details.
Further guidance will follow around what this could mean for clubs, points to consider and how the programme will work.
What will money generated from the platform be spent on?
Surplus returned from the new connectivity platform will be re-invested back into our game.
Areas of investment may include:
- Special projects funding for golf clubs
- Women and girls’ participation
- Junior development
- Support for disability and minority groups