Into the swing

Sports:

Golf

Location:

Wales - wide

Keen to get new people to try out your sport? Then you might just want to take a leaf out of Golf Development Wales' book!

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 club membership.

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 local campaigns.

"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.

 

Handy hints

• Phased introduction to membership - offer low cost options for beginners and plenty of support
• Buddy schemes - existing members supporting new members
• 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 Facebook

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Funding

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Sidebar-WhatMovesYou

'What Moves You?' is a campaign on a mission; a mission to get you, the women of Wales, to dig out your trainers and fall in love with sport.

'What Moves You?'

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