July is Family Golf Month – and clubs and centres across the country are spreading the message that golf is a fun game for all the family.
They’re backing England Golf’s campaign to get more families playing, by highlighting golfing activities that all the generations can enjoy together.
Clubs are offering opportunities on the getintogolf.org website and family golf is being featured all month on social media activity and supported by digital advertising.
Clubs are increasingly recognising the importance of appealing to families. Abbie Lench, England Golf’s Head of Club Support, commented: “Our strategy at England Golf is to put the customer at the heart of everything we do. It’s so encouraging to work with clubs who really listen to their customers and give them with what they want – which is fun for all the family.”
Glendale Golf, which operates seven golf centres in the UK, is at the forefront of providing fun and friendly golf which attracts beginners and families with children. That approach has meant going much further than offering beginner coaching and relaxed dress codes. Double tees, giant holes, lots of games, easy-to-use equipment and no mention of par are all part of the successful formula.
Managing director Tom Brooke explains: “Golf needs to be made far easier for children and beginners and it also needs much more of a fun element if we really are to break down the barriers to entry.”
Glendale Golf has worked with England Golf as its Tilgate Forest centre in Sussex to create a Family Fun Zone with colourful targets and a points-scoring system to create fun games. Food and drinks are served directly in the bays, which are super-sized to enable safe dining while players get on with their golf games. Balls are free and unlimited and families simply pay for the time they spend in the bay.
“The Family Fun Zone is a great example of how golf can be enjoyed by all the generations together,” said Abbie. “We’re looking forward to sharing what we learn with other clubs that want to be family friendly.”
Glendale has also renamed each of its par three courses at Tilgate Forest, Duxbury Park in Lancashire and Edwalton, Nottinghamshire, as The Fun Course. The par number have been dropped from scorecards and each hole now has two tees and two holes – an 8in cup on the green and a FootGolf hole beside the putting surface. Players, who can hire easy-to-use SNAG Golf equipment, choose their experience to suit their skill.
At Duxbury Park there’s a Golf and Games Family Park which mixes pitch and putt – to giant holes – with giant versions of games such as Snakes and Ladders and Connect 4. There’s even a giant sandpit complete with pirate ship, where the children can play while their parents enjoy a coffee.
There’s also a Family Orienteering Course at Duxbury, set safely away from the golf, to offer yet another opportunity for families to spend time together, mixing golf and other activities.
Tom Brooke added: “All our ideas came out of a series of discussions with staff at our centres and we all worked very hard to get everything in place for the summer holidays.
“We are all excited to see how the new innovations will be received by our customers. The early signs are good and we had fantastic attendance at our recent launch events. Over 300 people attended the launch of the Golf and Games Family Park at Duxbury for example, which is a source of great pride for the team there.”
The family activities are offered alongside traditional 18-hole golf for players at all seven centres. “We continue to provide the highest-quality golf experiences for the traditional golfer,” said Tom.
Caption: Young golfers have fun at a Glendale Golf centre