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 in a regular series of club updates 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
The latest weekly meeting of the independent golfer working group ended with clear agreement on key recommendations for certain terms and conditions.
Under the new scheme, it is the intention that golfers of all ages will be able to join on a 12-month rolling basis with the focus on keeping the process as simple as possible.
Once enrolled, members will be directed to educational tools which will help develop or sharpen their knowledge of rules, handicapping and golf course etiquette.
Safeguarding and adherence to relevant policies and procedures will, of course, be in place to ensure all golfers can enjoy the game in a secure environment.
In the weeks ahead, the working group agreed to address those outstanding areas relating to the terms and conditions of the platform such as fees, time lag for those joining the scheme from club membership, entitlements and handicap rules.
PATHWAY TO MEMBERSHIP
A key feature of the new connectivity platform is to encourage golfers currently operating outside of traditional membership to consider joining a local club/facility.
For those independent golfers who join the platform and then quickly decide to advance on the pathway to full golf club membership, there is a clear consensus that this should be a seamless journey.
Handicaps will be transferable and golfers free to move into golf club membership at any point in the yearly cycle.
The question of incentivising such a move was discussed by the working group and it was agreed that this was something worth exploring in more detail.
ONLINE MEETINGS – QUESTIONS ON COMPETITIONS
On Tuesday 9 February members of the working group held productive online meetings with the Midlands Golf Union and representatives from golf clubs in Wiltshire.
At the Midlands region meeting it was asked if competitions would be arranged exclusively for independent golfers or would these also be open for golf club members. This is a recurring query.
At launch, county and national level competitions will be open for golf club members only. However, there would be scope to develop competitions purely for independent golfers if there was a demand and a desire to do so.
At golf club level, flexibility of choice is a cornerstone of the new platform. Clubs can choose exactly how and to what extent they connect with independent golfers.
Should a club 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.