Jun 22nd, 2018
Introducing Golf Access
A revolutionary beginner’s golf programme for the next generation.
Whilst working for England Golf, former PGA Professional Simon Wood noticed that many people who were trying golf for the first time would come along to a few lessons on the range, but drift away again over time, having never made it on to the golf course, despite the high quality of the lessons. And he decided to do something about it.
“We were teaching them technique and telling them how to swing the club, but we weren’t truly helping them learn the game, and I thought there must be some way for beginners, both adults and juniors, to also learn the game on the golf course rather than purely on the practice area.”
This disconnect combined with his own teaching experience gave him the idea for Golf Access.
So how does it work?
Golf Access is a designed to be played from forward tees set up on the main course. There are 9 levels of progress (represented by corresponding coloured wristbands for kids, and poker chip ball markers for adults). Each time a player achieves the target score on the short course they obtain the corresponding coloured band and certificate, or poker chip marker.
Score pressure and the intimidation factor of being on the main course is removed by the unique scoring and rules so beginners can just have fun and experience the game on the course!
On completion of Golf Access, players will have attained the level of ability equivalent to a 54 handicap. At this point, they can choose to switch to the standard tees and attempt to obtain a CONGU handicap, or they can further develop their learning through Golf Access +
Golf Access + offers a further progression path through the levels in the same controlled environment, which when completed, is the equivalent of a 36 handicap. At this stage the player should be confident to join the club, play from the standard tees and obtain a CONGU handicap.
Since its inception just over a year ago, Golf Access has proven to be extremely successful with every one of the clubs and schools running the programme. Over 70 clubs and schools have signed up, a number that is growing all the time. Their feedback indicates significant increases in participation and retention levels, growth in memberships and increased revenues throughout the club.
Simon has been delighted to see how much the clubs are benefitting:
“We surveyed the clubs to find out how the programme was being received and without exception, everyone told us they would recommend Golf Access to other clubs. It’s deliberately designed to be an affordable investment that can usually be recouped in a single session. At our first Centre in Ireland, Skiberreen Golf Club, Head Pro Sarah Claridge had over 60 juniors sign up on the first day!”
Stuart Disney, PGA Fellow Professional at The Mendip Golf Club explains the impact at his club:
“Since introducing Golf Access this year, we have gone from having no junior section to 30 new junior members. It has transformed the club, not only with new members, but with families spending time in the clubhouse and kids coming back every session motivated to achieve their next coloured band. It’s such a simple idea but that’s what makes it so effective - I can’t speak highly enough of Golf Access.”
Dean Harrison, the PGA Professional at Chilworth Golf Club said, “Thanks to the Golf Access experience on the course, many of my junior tuition sessions are now student led. The kids have a clear idea on what they need to improve on and realise all the games we play on the range are targeted to improve their games on the course. I like the format and like the freedom to implement Golf Access in my own way. Golf really needs more participants and this is a great way to introduce them.”