Feb 12th, 2017
Great year for golf in Wales
According to new numbers from Golf Union of Wales
Words: James Greenwood
Golf clubs in Wales found 2016 to be their best year for years, according to new data from the Golf Union of Wales.
More than two in five golf clubs in Wales saw an increase in members, while visitor numbers and full-time employees have risen sharply.
The key causes have been a five per cent increase in girls joining clubs, plus a marked increase in the number of membership categories being offered so potential new members could choose a package to suit their lifestyle.
More than one in eight Welsh golf clubs said their memberships have now risen two years in a row, almost two thirds of clubs saw an increase in visitor numbers in 2015, compared to 2014 (the most recent figures available), while the average number of full–time staff employed at each club has risen to eight – twice as many as 2013. The number of registered volunteers has also gone up 20 per cent, to 600.
Most of the successful clubs have been working closely with Golf Development Wales, learning the lessons from best practice across Wales.
“Everyone at Golf Development Wales has been working incredibly hard, alongside some really inspirational clubs, to reverse the worldwide trends in golf club membership,” explained Hannah McAllister, Golf Union of Wales development director.
“While numbers of people playing golf have been going up, it is also important to convert that into club membership as the clubs are the key fabric of the sport. Even nomadic golf would not be possible without thriving clubs.
“We have seen some changes, more emphasis on women and girls joining clubs, families joining clubs, without forgetting the traditional demographics.
“Many golf clubs in Wales have embraced change and have seen a turnaround in their fortunes, in some cases a dramatic turnaround.
“Obviously the aim is to see golf club membership increasing at every club in Wales, but these figures show a good start and good progress. They also show there are certain approaches which can work in all areas of Wales.”
There are plenty of success stories from all round Wales. For example Mold in North Wales has seen an affiliation increase of 41 men, nine women and six juniors.
“The main success has been from New2Golf, as well as members helping out by taking new members out onto the course, taster sessions and beginners classes,” explained Mold PGA professional Craig Tudor.
“I am as busy as I have ever been in terms of coaching and the junior academy is thriving with close to 100 juniors. We could always do with more members but we are in the strongest position I have seen here.”