Over 110,000 people got into golf with the national network of County Golf Partnerships (CGPs) in the year to the end of March 2014. That’s more than double the figure for the previous 12 months.
The figure, for people aged over 14, is highlighted in the latest Impact Report prepared by England Golf’s Club Services and Development department. It’s up by a massive 120 per cent on the previous year.
The report also shows that the numbers going on to take part in structured coaching sessions and playing regularly are also growing rapidly and beating targets set by the England Golf Partnership (EGP).
Over 30,000 took structured coaching courses (target 25,000), while more than 17,000 became regular golfers, playing once a week (target 10,000).
Almost 5000 people took out new club memberships in the year, reported the CGPs. While these may include juniors, the memberships could be worth £3.6million in subscriptions over the last 12 months.
The CGPs are also involving more disabled people in golf and again beating their targets for the year. Thirty partnerships ran specific disability projects and involved almost 3500 people, with 135 joining clubs. Seven CGPs received additional funding to establish disability centres for golf and this project is continuing in 2014/15.
“These figures are very encouraging and show what can be achieved when CGPs and clubs work closely together,” said Richard Flint, the England Golf Club Services & Development Director.
“Our challenge now is to increase the scale of what we do so that we have an impact on the Active People Survey, which Sport England uses to measure participation in sport.”
Last December’s Active People Survey showed a drop in regular participation in the 26-plus age group and as a result Sport England reduced its funding for the England Golf Partnership’s (EGP) Whole Sport Plan by £496,000 over the next three years.
The EGP has responded by changing the focus of the network of County Golf Partnerships to concentrate on delivering structured and regular playing opportunities, rather than one-off taster sessions.
This approach is reflected by the new England Golf Strategic Plan for 2014-17 which sets out to inspire people of all ages to make golf a part of their life and aims to reverse the trend of declining club membership.
As a result, CGPs are increasing the number of clubs offering ‘Play more golf’ activities, including refresher and improver courses, specific coaching programmes and playing and membership offers.
All CGP activities to encourage people to Get into golf and to Play more golf are These initiatives are supported by the national Get into golf marketing campaign www.getintogolf.org