Ruddington Grange Golf Club in Nottinghamshire has just become the 700th club to achieve GolfMark, the England Golf award for junior and beginner-friendly facilities.
The GolfMark scheme, which incorporates Sport England’s ClubMark award, was launched in 2006.
Ian Gelsthorpe, the club’s head PGA professional who led the push to GolfMark, remarked: “Ruddington Grange is very proud to be the 700th club to achieve GolfMark.
“It is a fantastic scheme and hopefully it will help us to get even more awareness and recognition in the local community of what we have to offer.
“We want to show people that there aren't the boundaries there used to be to come into a golf club. We’re a welcoming club which looks after and encourages new golfers and new members.”
Ruddington Grange is a Get into golf centre for the Nottinghamshire Golf Partnership and offers low-cost, structured coaching for beginners.
Their own ‘Get into the Swing’ initiative promotes successful, free taster sessions for women, families and children. For example, a ladies-only series early this year encouraged 12 women to take up trial membership. New members’ nine-hole competitions are organised to help people make golfing friends and to integrate into the club.
Free coaching sessions for children will begin in January and Ian has also linked with six schools in the area to encourage youngsters to try golf and take up the sport. “Having GolfMark tells parents that we have the correct practices in place and gives them the confidence to leave their children in an organised environment,” he said.
Meanwhile, the club has forged links with Nottingham Trent University and recently welcomed over 30 new student members. Ruddington Grange has also just partnered a local gym to reach more potential players.
Richard Flint, England Golf’s Club Services and Development Director, congratulated Ruddington Grange and said: “This is a key milestone for GolfMark which underlines the importance clubs place on working with us to support junior and beginner golf. The close relationship between GolfMark clubs and their local County Golf Partnership is helping to grow the game at grass roots by offering more people more opportunities to play golf.”
Matt Bloor, the Nottinghamshire Golf Partnership’s County Development Officer, added: “Congratulations to Ruddington Grange. They are one of our flagship golf clubs and we welcome their proactive approach to getting new people into the game.”
The GolfMark (incorporating Clubmark) scheme will be re-launched in 2014, following an extensive consultation period with key stakeholders. This will ensure the award meets golf club requirements in the changing golfing landscape, with an increased focus on development and business support, including club operations and marketing.
June 2008: Birchwood Golf Club, Warrington, is 100th GolfMark club.
June 2009: Shrewsbury Golf Club is 200th GolfMark club.
April 2010: Stonebridge Golf Club, near Solihull, is 300th GolfMark club.
December 2010: Sandburn Hall Golf Club, near York, is 400th GolfMark club.
August 2011: East Herts Golf Club is 500th GolfMark club
November 2012: Filey Golf Club is 600th GolfMark club
December 2013: Ruddington Grange Golf Club is 700th GolfMark club
Caption: Nottinghamshire County Development Officer Matt Bloor (left) presents Ian Gelsthorpe of Ruddington Grange with the GolfMark award.