England Golf reflect on “extraordinary year” in Annual Review

The governing body have released their state of the game report and accentuated the positives for golf despite an unprecedented year of lockdown “There is no doubt in our minds that that game of golf in England is on an upward curve”. That’s England Golf’s verdict on the last year as the governing body released their Annual Review. In the foreword to a 13-page report looking back on golf in 2020, chief executive Jeremy Tomlinson and chairman Nic Coward said that “in an effort to pull positives from the most testing of times, the past year has reinforced just how many people, through their actions, truly care about our fantastic game”. The pair were reflecting on an “extraordinary year” that saw golf in England locked down three times as the UK battled the coronavirus pandemic. They wrote of their immense pride of the way the “entire England Golf team, colleagues on the Board and the whole of golf in England, have addressed the unique set of challenges over the past 12 months”. Coward and Tomlinson reviewed a year that also saw the continued implementation of SafeGolf and the World Handicap System – “the biggest change to handicapping in over a hundred years” – as well as the support given to clubs during the pandemic, through the R&A’s Covid-19 Support Fund and their own reserves, that saw nearly £3 million distributed to more than 400 clubs in the nation. They added: “Parliamentarians, ministers and officials were able to talk about the great value and significance of golf like never before, which provides a platform for us all to build on and convince more and more people to get into the game. “It showed that long-standing negative perceptions and stereotypes exist, and can be strongly held, but also that they can be overcome with a presentation of what is really going on across the sport”. The pair also noted the agreement to create a connectivity platform for independent golfers. “Everyone across the game can use this platform to engage with all golfers and inspire an ever-closer connection and progression to club membership,” they said. Outlining income and expenditure to the year ending December 31, the review revealed that affiliation fees make up just over half of England Golf’s income – with £6,149 million accounting for 53.5% of the total. A further 41% in 2020 came from Sport England grants (£1,893m making up 16.5%) and other grants, including the R&A Covid-19 fund, bringing in £2.86m and making up 24.9% The biggest expenditure – aside from non-performance grants - came from development, participation and club services, where £2.089m made up 21.7%. Admin and governance expenditure topped just over £2 million. For the full report, click here.   Do you subscribe to the GCMA's weekly E-newsletter? Make sure you're not missing out on the latest in the world of golf club management. Click here to join in.
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