Rookery Park Golf Club, near Lowestoft, has become the first club in Suffolk to achieve the new-style, national GolfMark award in recognition of its work to grow the game.
GolfMark, which was recently re-launched, is England Golf’s official seal of approval for clubs successfully working to develop their business in such ways as:
• Attracting new members and encouraging existing members to play more
• Using practical business planning to develop the club
• Offering appropriate coaching and playing opportunities for all standards of golfer
• Ensuring all necessary safeguarding policies are in place for the junior section
Rookery Park, which has an 18-hole parkland course and a nine-hole par three course, offers a range of playing opportunities and initiatives to appeal to players of all abilities.
It is part of England Golf’s Get into golf scheme, offering affordable coaching opportunities to beginners in group sessions from £20 for four weeks. It has also introduced Academy Membership, from as little as £149 a year, to form a structured introduction to golf. This provides beginners and improvers with coaching and playing opportunities on the par 3 course and a clear pathway to club membership.
The club offers junior group sessions to under-18s every Saturday morning, led by Assistant Professional Ed Garrard, and is working hard to link further with local schools.
There has also been the introduction of staggered membership fees to encourage recruitment and retention of younger members and full payment is now not applicable until the age of 36.
Robert Pettett, Rookery Park Secretary, who was instrumental in leading the club’s push to achieve GolfMark, said: “Here at Rookery Park we pride ourselves on being a friendly, welcoming and forward-thinking golf club and we have worked extremely hard to achieve this over the last few years.
“This award recognises the huge strides we have made as a club but we won’t rest on our laurels and will continue to keep working hard to develop golf in our area. As part of our business plan, we now have a clear focus on attracting more women, girls and junior boys to the club and engaging more with our local community.
“We want to encourage as many people as possible to try golf and experience what a fun, enjoyable, sociable and beneficial game it can be. The GolfMark award will help us to spread that message further and show we are serious about our vision for Rookery Park.”
The award was presented to Rookery Park by Steven Peet, England Golf Regional Manager, who commented:
“I’m delighted that Rookery Park has achieved the GolfMark award and that the club’s efforts to grow the game can now be nationally recognised. Rookery Park has a wonderful team of people all working together to move the club in one, very exciting direction.
“The club has a clear vision of where it wants to be and a sound business plan setting out how it intends to get there, linked to the England Golf Strategic Plan, which is brilliant to see. The club are very keen to engage with and understand their local community and offer opportunities for anyone to experience golf with a clear pathway to membership or further participation.”
The GolfMark award was developed by England Golf and also integrates Sport England’s Clubmark award – a national standard for quality sports clubs recognised across the country.
GolfMark brings a number of benefits to clubs including raising awareness, access to funding, business and marketing support and training opportunities for staff and volunteers.
Almost 40 per cent of GolfMark clubs have increased membership since receiving the award. To find out more about GolfMark visit www.golfmark.org. To find out more about Rookery Park please visit www.rookeryparkgolfclub.co.uk.
Caption: Steven Peet (second right) presents the GolfMark award to club President John Pawsey, watched by junior members Tegan Arlow and Conal Downing.