England Golf's Membership: Give it a Shot campaign is trying to cement the gains the sport has made during the Covid pandemic. Though it feels odd to admit it, the coronavirus pandemic handed golf a golden ticket. Did we really do much to precipitate the avalanche of golfers that arrived in May 2020 wanting to play the sport and, crucially, to join our clubs? After years of managing decline, participation numbers have rocketed but now the real challenge begins – the battle to keep them in the sport. As football stadiums reopen, as the activities denied us for so long finally return to our lives, golf will once again have to compete in a busy leisure market. But this time it has an advantage. The consumers are already here – they are members and they are spending cash on tee times. And so England Golf is keen to capitalise, to assist clubs in ensuring this boom in players does not, ultimately, turn out to be a flash in the pan. The governing body has relaunched its Membership: Give it a Shot campaign – designed to educate new and existing golfers about the benefits of joining clubs across the country. The overriding message is one of opportunity: now is the time. “As an industry, as golf clubs, we won’t have a better opportunity than this – in terms of the increase we’ve seen in membership,” said Richard Flint, England Golf’s chief operating officer. “The audience is there. We love it. We hope they will love it. What an opportunity to keep them involved in the game. “Our role is not to dictate or mandate what golf clubs should be doing. But if we can nudge, if we can help and hold hands if we need to, then the resources and support is there for golf clubs to really retain these members.” The campaign focuses around four core values – equality, diversity, family and community and a new suite of consumer and club-focused content is available to assist clubs looking to recruit new members and retain existing ones. It aims to attract players who are actively playing, whether that’s at driving ranges, par 3 courses, or as visitors, and the call to action falls around three key messages: that play is flexible, clubs are sociable and golf is affordable. “The ultimate experience is golf club membership,” added Matthew Draper, the governing body’s club, county and membership senior manager. “We know that people are attracted to golf club membership through the social benefits that are available, that membership is flexible, and that golf is affordable. “We’ve got the club support campaign, which is new for this year. In terms of encouraging people to look into membership, our club support teams are making sure that clubs are doing the right things and getting the right processes in place to be able to attract people into membership. “After the boom of last year, it’s about how clubs can retain these players, how they can keep...
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