Almost 54,000 people chose to ‘Get into golf’ during the summer months of April to September, inspired by England’s network of County Golf Partnerships (CGPs). And encouragingly, 35% were female!
That’s an increase of 47 per cent on the same period in 2012. The challenge now is to convert the growing interest in golf into regular, once-a-week participation.
The six-month results from 31 Partnerships, which work to increase participation at grass roots level, are detailed in the latest CGP Impact Report from England Golf. During the period, CGP activities involved a total of 53,940 people, aged 14-years and over. Of these, 15,250 (28%) were involved in structured coaching sessions with PGA professionals, and 7518 (14%) in regular, once a week activity.
Encouragingly, 35% of all participants were female. This compares very favourably with national figures which show that just 15% of all golfers are female.
Another highlight of the report was news of almost 2000 new golf club memberships, worth up to £1.4million in subscriptions to clubs across England.
Richard Flint, England Golf’s Club Services and Development Director, commented: “These results reflect the hard work and commitment of our County Golf Partnerships, which has created great interest in playing golf. Now, their goal must be to work closely with golf clubs to encourage more people to play the game more often. We all want to see many more golfers playing regular, once-a-week golf and enjoying the benefits of club membership.”
The Partnerships have focussed on the 26-plus age group and their activities have been underpinned by the national ‘Get into golf’ marketing campaign, promoting their low-cost taster sessions and beginner courses.
In this age group, just over 37,600 people have been inspired to try golf, with 11,362 (30%) following structured activities and 3753 (10%) taking regular once-a-week activity.
The CGPs are also being supported by the newly appointed England Golf Disability Officer and are running an increasing number of disability golf projects. These involved over 2600 people in the six-month period and these projects are set to grow, particularly as partnerships are developed with
national and local disability groups.
Another rapidly developing area is the new project to increase golf participation in universities and colleges. Numbers are already significant and are expected to rise as the project becomes established.
The CGPs’ achievements have a positive impact on the golf club economy. A total of 1963 new golf club memberships were reported by 26 Partnerships and, while these may include juniors, they have a value of more than £1.4m based on the average adult subscription.
In addition, participants who go on to take further structured coaching, after their initial introduction, could be investing a further £2.5 million back into the game, based on a £200 spend per person.
The CGP network is an integral part of the England Golf Partnership’s (EGP) Whole Sport Plan for golf, which is supported by Sport England National Lottery funding. The Partnerships received an investment of £528,294 from the EGP over the six months, April to September 2013.