. Government backing for Get into Golf
. ClubGolf maintains £500,000 a year government funding
The Scottish Government has announced a funding boost of £1million over the next four years to give ‘the opportunity for every family in the country to play golf’.
Following on from the Ryder Cup, the Scottish Government has agreed to the funding commitment which will see £250,000 a year invested in golf until 2018 to attract new members and a new generation of players into golf clubs.
In order to reach that goal, the 593 clubs affiliated to the Scottish Golf Union (SGU) and Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association (SLGA) will be provided with the tools and skills they need to introduce adults to the game, irrespective of their background.
The collective ambitions are as follows:
Introductory programme for adults (Get into Golf)
Access to quality, affordable coaching for all
Strong clubs at the heart of their communities
Continuation of ClubGolf in schools
Strengthening school-club links
ClubGolf was launched in 2003 as part of Scotland’s 2014 Ryder Cup bid. Since then, the Scottish Government has supported the programme with funding of £500,000 per annum.
The investment, which was extended for a four-year period to 2018, has successfully introduced more than 350,000 school children to golf.
The programme has produced impressive knock-on results with over 71% of the Scottish Golf Academy intake in 2014 coming from the ClubGolf Stage 3 Development Centre programme.
In addition, 50% of new male junior golf club members and 61% of female junior golf club members were introduced to the sport through ClubGolf coaching in 2013.
Read more --> Junior Ryder cup 'exceeds expectations'
Get into Golf
In 2013, the SGU, SLGA and Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) established the Get into Golf programme. This seeks to adapt many of the successful principles from ClubGolf to provide an innovative, fun, welcoming and structured introductory programme for adults.
Get into Golf is designed to appeal to people who have never played golf but like the idea of trying it, or who would like to get back into the game.
The Get into Golf programme helps clubs attract adult beginners by promoting group coaching sessions run by a PGA professional, PGA assistant or volunteer coaches at their club.
From pilot studies, the programme is proven to help clubs introduce beginners to the game through coaching and introductory membership models.
Currently, 60 clubs across Scotland are registered for the Get into Golf initiative. The fresh investment from the Scottish Government will attempt to create more demand across the nation’s plentiful supply of almost 600 courses.
Scottish Government on increased funding
First Minister Alex Salmond said the funding would encourage both youngsters and adults to take up the game.
“Scotland is not only the home of golf, but it is also the future of golf and this funding will help to introduce yet more youngsters and families to the game,” said Salmond.
"The ClubGolf programme has already encouraged more than 350,000 youngsters to pick up a club." - Alex Salmond
“Bradley Neil is a wonderful example of a youngster who has come through the ranks and is now representing Scotland on a global stage, and he represented Team Europe at the Junior Ryder Cup at his home course in Blairgowrie. We need to continue to introduce the next generation of players and champions to the game at an early stage.
“The ClubGolf programme has already encouraged more than 350,000 youngsters to pick up a club and this new funding will not only build on that success, but also look to expand the appeal to families as well.”
Bill Buchan, Chairman of ClubGolf, echoed the First Minister’s comments, he said: “We have established successful initiatives to support clubs and we need to increase the scale at which we can do this work.
“There is a fundamental desire to continue with the key ingredients of ClubGolf, namely the school introductory programme and the link to local clubs and facilities.
"We believe this investment will accelerate the early progress we have made." - Bill Buchan
“We recognise, through the ClubGolf programme, that we have a unique opportunity to attract parents and other family members to the introductory offering. With the Get into Golf initiative, we particularly want to increase the number of women and girls playing golf and focus on the concept of family golf.
“We have 60 clubs registered for the programme so far and we would like to see more getting involved. Golf is a game for everyone and we want to see a culture change at golf clubs, especially given current consumer trends.
“We believe this investment will accelerate the early progress we have made in supporting clubs to meet the needs of their customers, both now and into the future.”