Penrith Golf Club used their 125th anniversary as the spur to plan for the future – and it’s won them England Golf’s 2016 GolfMark Club of the Year Award.
They add it to the Community Club of the Year accolade which they received at the end of last year at the Cumbria Sports Awards.
Representatives of Penrith received the prestigious GolfMark award – supported by COBRA PUMA GOLF – at a gala dinner last night at the England Golf annual conference.
This award, now in its eighth year, recognises GolfMark clubs which have made an outstanding contribution to developing the game.
Craig Verrinder, UK and Ireland marketing manager for COBRA PUMA GOLF, said: “We are delighted that Penrith Golf Club share our passion for the game and for encouraging new starters and juniors.”
Phil Park, a past captain and committee member who drove the club’s GolfMark process, said: “This is a tremendous accolade for Penrith Golf Club and a special moment in the history of the club.
“It is fantastic to be recognised at national level against such tough opposition and is a true reward for the work carried out at the club, both on and off the course, by so many hard working people. This will provide real incentive and motivation to strengthen the club in the years ahead.”
Penrith decided to celebrate their 125th anniversary by renewing their GolfMark early, targeting and attaining the High Achiever status – with the support of all sections of the club.
As a result, the club has a new focus on working with disabled people; fresh ideas to recruit more members, particularly ladies and girls; more effective communications; a thriving junior section; strong support for their seniors; a sustainable and environmental programme for course development and the introduction of a junior/ beginners’ course.
The outstanding innovation has been the club’s efforts to involve disabled people in golf. They have established links with Limb Power and the Cumbria Amputee Group; they’re running sessions with Eden MENCAP with support from Active Cumbria, and they’re one of 10 pilot clubs selected to work for the DEAFinitely inclusive kitemark. The club is also providing work experience for an adult with learning difficulties to support their return to the local community.
Recruitment initiatives have included offering more Get into golf activities, including a women and girls’ programme linked to #ThisGirlCan. The club has worked strongly with local schools, held open days during the summer holidays for young people and other local sports clubs and provides more support for its volunteer coaches. The club now has six Level 1 coaches to support the professional.
It is also working to retain members by, for example, holding new members’ evenings, junior parents’ evenings, and providing a welcome booklet. The website and communications have been improved, visitor and members’ surveys are carried out; and more social, mixed and competitive golf has been provided.
Abbie Lench, the England Golf Head of Club Support, commented: “Penrith is a fantastic example of a club using GolfMark to drive forward positive change.”
Penrith beat two other shortlisted clubs to the title: Erewash Valley Golf Club in Derbyshire and Hinckley Golf Club, Leicestershire.
GolfMark supports clubs to achieve high standards in four areas: recruitment and retention; management and sustainability; coaching and competitions; and safeguarding.
Representatives of Penrith Golf Club with Craig Verrinder of COBRA PUMA GOLF (red tie) and conference presenter Di Dougherty (Image © Leaderboard Photography).