Dwindling membership of golf clubs is a fact.
Last year England Golf, the body that runs amateur golf in England, revealed that since 2005 weekly participation in the game had fallen by 12 per cent, and that memberships at the country’s 1,900-plus clubs have fallen over the past decade, from 882,640 in 2004 to 675,000 in 2014. So serious is the problem that several clubs have closed down and many more struggle to survive.
Now, a specialist magazine is getting behind the launch of National Golf Week to try to stem the decline, and perhaps even reverse the trend. Colin Jenkins, editor of the intriguingly titled GRN-OGRO magazine (Golf Range News-Organisation of Golf and Range Operators, out of a complete rebranding of Golf Range News seven years ago) explained: “Many years ago the PGA ran a fantastic scheme called National Golf Week. Many of us involved in running golf facilities extended the idea by two to three weeks. In fact I used to cross-out the word ‘week’ and write ‘month’.”
After that scheme lost its sponsorship in 2002, Jenkins started a campaign called Learn to Play in May. “This was a very simple system – golfers were given free tuition with free club hire and they paid for the golf balls that they used and this in turn paid for the tuition they received.
“It all worked very well and many golf centres created lots of new golfers and benefited from it hugely. Golfers, too, loved the idea and were keen to take up the game at the centres that promoted the scheme.
“Unfortunately, Learn to Play in May was expensive for us to run and, despite our very best efforts, we were unable to attract any sponsorship or mainstream recognition from the wider media.
“Last year, however, Doug Poole of Doug Poole Golf Consultancy started National Golf Month. With the backing of Bauer Media, he was able to get access to huge amounts of free publicity.
“National Golf Month starts again next week and those who wish to find new golfers and also returning golfers whose interest in the game has lapsed, can sign up easily on the website www.nationalgolfmonth.com.
“National Golf Month is the industry’s easiest opportunity to improve its future. Doug has done all the work for us, with his dedicated team of helpers and the magnificent backing of Bauer Media.”
GRN-OGRO is a monthly magazine for the golf industry in the UK and Europe, representing the interests of golf courses, golf ranges, golf retailers and of golf resorts.
Jenkins said: “We supply approximately 2,700 hard copies free of charge to various golf facilities in the UK, and we send out over 20,500 digital editions by email.”
Digital editions and back issues of GRN-OGRO are available to download in PDF format via www.grn-ogro.com
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