For many of us, the thought of heading to a golf club for the
very first time - with our shiny, new clubs in tow - is rather an
intimidating thought. Without so much as a lesson, it's likely we'd
scurry back home without even enquiring about membership.
In 2012, this is the challenge that faced the team at Golf
Development Wales (GDW). So they set out on a journey to get more
people into the swing than ever before - and in doing so, making
the game feel a lot less unnerving!
GDW put their heads together and came up with a programme
designed to introduce beginners into the game.With the help of
investment from Sport Wales and a huge number of clubs across the
country who were up for the challenge, New2Golf was born -a free
taster day followed by six weeks of low cost, fun, group lessons
with a PGA professional.
As part of this, the beginners are also offered a Golf
Development Wales New2Golf membership pack. This includes
vouchers such as 50% of individual lessons, family lessons,
insurance and other offers and promotions.
And that's not all on completion of the lessons, trial
membership is offered by the club to ensure individuals can sample
Hannah Fitzpatrick of Golf Development Wales explains:
"We don't just give beginners a taste of golf and then launch
them headlong into full, club membership which can be intimidating.
This is why it has been so successful. It's a much softer, phased
approach. This works because golf can be complex so beginners need
to be supported over a period of time."
And the results?
• Since the scheme began, more than 1800 people have taken
up New2Golf memberships - and 60% are female
• In 2013, almost 90 clubs ran 112 beginner schemes
• 50% of those ran female specific schemes and over 10% ran
disability specific schemes
Hannah explains that perhaps the secret to their success has
been listening to customers:
"Clubs need to provide a really, warm welcome - they need to
listen to participants, understand their needs and wants so that
they can provide the best possible customer service and package to
encourage them to become a member to the club. We need to be able
to respond to feedback and adapt offers.
"We had a great example of a club who were finding that women
weren't taking up club membership after being supported through the
scheme. They got to know the ladies and discovered that they were
tempted but were put off by a full membership. So what did the club
do? They adapted and offered a nine hole membership instead which
went down really well."
GDW keep in touch with all the new players and send them a
survey. This has really helped GDW shape the scheme for the future
and also means that they can pass on advice to the clubs.
Promotion and marketing has also been instrumental:
"My advice to other organisations who want to run something
similar is to offer a free taster session which is promoted and
marketed effectively to get new people through the door. What works
for golf is that our sessions have a family feel. Families are
always looking for a day out and sport can meet that need.
"We promote the programme across Wales in the media and make use
of Sport Wales' What Moves You campaign to encourage more women and
girls. We then offer clubs promotional material so they can run
"It sounds simple but when you're running a programme like this,
it's also essential to get your website up to date. We made sure we
had a map showing theclubs that offer New2Golf - together with
contact details and the type of group lessons -so people could find
their nearest facility.
• Phased introduction to membership - offer low cost
options for beginners and plenty of support
• Buddy schemes - existing members supporting new
• Let's get social - existing members can organise social
events for new members
• Family friendly - make the club a place to take the whole
family and encourage other family members to participate
• Be flexible- offer different forms of membership packages to
suit different lifestyles
If you would like to find out more, visit www.golfunionwales.org or