More than one in four people (28%) in the UK do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week. In May of this year, Sport England published their “Towards an Active Nation Strategy” laying out how they intend to combat this figure and increase participation in sport over the next five years. Funding has been tripled to tackle inactivity with a dedicated pot for family based activities. Is golf best placed to make a success of this additional funding?
With no gender or age restrictions, golf is a game for all. Players of varying abilities are able to compete fairly thanks to the handicap system at amateur level – the envy of all other sports. And is there a better place for a youngster to grow up? As well as giving children the opportunity to play against and socialise with people from different generations and backgrounds, the sport encourages honesty, dedication and etiquette. With all these factors in mind, how can golf facilities encourage more families to get involved?
A number of clubs in the UK have already started with the basics – such as establishing family orientated competitions. Formats like a Texas Scramble are a good option with it being a collaborative team game that enables all players to contribute and is particularly inclusive for newcomers. On top of this, I have seen a number of golf professionals promoting group lessons for the whole family and this is proving to be a great way for everyone to develop together.
There is also a growing number of clubs embracing the adventure golf trend. New adventure golf courses are popping up around the UK and these are a providing a good first stepping stone in encouraging children to get involved with the game. Similarly, TopGolf provides an accessible and affordable way for children and families to start swinging a club for the first time. TopGolf’s success is highlighted by the recent news of plans to construct an additional 10-15 new sites in the UK.
What is clear from the work done so far is that families are embracing shorter formats of the game. They aren’t jumping on the first tee for 18 holes on a weekend afternoon. Shorter formats are appealing to families with much less time on their hands and an ever growing list of commitments elsewhere. What isn’t yet so clear is how these new forms of customer will evolve into golf as they are nurtured by facilities. I predict that in the not too distant future, the most successful clubs will have staff on hand committed entirely to monitoring and encouraging families through their journey into full club involvement as opposed to traditional membership managers.
If you’d like to chat about accessing funding and encouraging family and junior participation at your facility in more detail, feel free to get in touch.
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