Ladies Get into Golf going from strength to strength
|Royal Tara - just one of the venues which held a highly|
successful Get Into Golf programme.
The GUI has often been accused of being sluggish and slow to react to issues affecting our game but moves over recent years have – one hopes – altered that perception. No doubt there will still be gripes about this or that but progress has been made to coincide with international changes.
Most golfers with any interest in the industry are well aware of the challenges facing the game. The cost, the time involved, the commitment (to play well), slow play, handicap manipulating and, of course, the issue of formality that clings likea monkey to the sport’s back. And then there’s the falling membership which has, at least, pretty much reached the bottom. How does a game survive in circumstances such as these? Keep banging the same drum? Put on the blinkers and pretend nothing is happening? If we do that then the game will continue to wither. At every level of the game we need to be making changes – change the game, change who we attract, change how we keep people in.
I have huge admiration for the Confederation of Golf in Ireland, which has been running for a few years now. Efforts have been targeted at specific sectors of potential golfers and these efforts continue to be rewarded.
Since 2014, 166 clubs have benefitted from the Confederation of Golf in Ireland’s (CGI) Ladies Get into Golf programme. The eight week course consists of a mixture of lessons with a PGA Professional and on-course activities with current members of the ladies section – ensuring participants receive both technical instruction and are welcomed socially into the golf club environment.
|Another shot from Royal Tara.|
Over the past number of years, participating clubs have had enormous success including a 60% conversion rate into membership. On average clubs are seeing a potential revenue return of €11,450.
“Over 3,000 women have joined Golf Clubs as introductory members through this initiative in the past four years,” explained CGI Participation Manager Anne McCormack,
“This is largely down to the hard work and dedication of club volunteers, who with the support of the CGI Team have created an environment that welcomes and integrates women into the club through a structured coaching and buddying system. Clubs have not only seen an increase in their revenue and membership figures by running Get into Golf, they have also welcomed the energy that the new members have brought.”
Speaking about their successfully run programme, through which Gort Golf Club have doubled their ladies membership Jane Joyce said,
“It really has brought a new life to our club, there was so much laughter and enjoyment at all of the sessions – from the beginners and from all of the buddies!”
Focusing on accommodating and attracting working women was the key to success for Gort; “Of the 50 ladies who have progressed into our introductory membership, the vast majority are in their 40s and 50s, we were very adamant that our sessions were run at times that suited everyone and to not restrict anyone who wanted to get involved.”
To ensure maximum sustainably for clubs recruiting new members, CGI have made a Stay in Golf resource available to over 100 Golf Clubs. This resource has been developed to help clubs generate ideas to assist new members in moving on from their initial beginner activities to developing their golf skills and knowledge through a series of activities and good practice case studies which includes many solutions to integrating new members within the current membership.
To find out more information or to apply for any of the CGI Programmes visit cgigolf.org
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