In The Loop…October

What you need to know from the last month in the golf industry

Golf’s troubles aren’t over for everyone

There was good news for English golf when KPMG’s ‘Golf Participation Report for Europe 2017’ dropped into inboxes. The study, from information collected from golf associations earlier in the year, revealed a more than four per cent rise in the number of registered golfers in England between 2015 and 2016.

The total went up from 665,103 to 694.623 and that mirrored a trend across Europe, with a two per cent rise across the continent overall.  But there was more sober news for Scotland and Wales, both of whom saw a three per cent drop.

There was a near one per cent fall in Ireland.  Before anyone starts getting too self-congratulatory, the survey also revealed that only 13 per cent of golfers in England were women in 2016 (12 per cent in Scotland and Wales) – a figure that’s still among the worst on the continent.

Are six hole courses the future?

Frilford Heath raised interest when they launched their new yellow six-hole course.  It’s been designed specifically to make golf more accessible to young people and beginners and was opened by member, and European Tour professional, Eddie Pepperall with 100-year-old Hugh Chamberlain.

With a round taking no more than 60 minutes, no hole longer than 86 yards, and synthetic tees and greens, it will also give older members who find it difficult to play 18 the chance to stay in the game and assist time strapped golfers out for a quick knock.  Alistair Booth, Frilford Heath’s executive chairman, said:

“Introducing a new six-hole course to our selection of three 18 hole courses means we are making golf accessible.  Beginners and younger players who might otherwise be too afraid to play a longer course because of their level of skill can now be assured that they can play a game of six holes in an hour.”

Rules changes reach next stage

Did you get involved in the consultation exercise for The R&A and USGA’s proposed rules changes in 2019? Plenty did, the two governing bodies revealing more than 22,000 golfers – from 102 countries – had their say as part of the six-month feedback period.

Both bodies will now be reviewing all the comments received, with the aim of finalising

the new rules next spring and starting a ‘comprehensive education programme’ later in the year. A draft of the new Rules – reduced from the current 34 to a proposed 24 – was released in March, which started the consultation period that was open to the whole golf community.

Meet the greenkeeping stars of tomorrow

Nick Machin and Angus Roberts were named winners of the 2017 Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year awards.

They emerged following two days of stiff competition at BIGGA HQ, at Aldwark Manor, in York. Royal Cinque Port’s Machin was proclaimed Student Greenkeeper, while Roberts, of Roxeburgh, was awarded the title of Young Student Greenkeeper. The runners-up were Stoneham’s Levi Pethick and Bramshaw’s Craig Woodman. Jim Croxton, BIGGA CEO, said:

“It is clear from the impressive roster of previous winners of the Toro Student Greenkeeper awards when I say that success in this competition can propel you to the very top of the profession. The award in itself isn’t what achieves this, rather to be crowned winner you have to show incredible dedication to your own education and development, and these are the attributes that open doors to the fantastic opportunities this unique career offers.” The awards are a nationwide contest hosted by BIGGA, Toro and Reesink Turfcare.

By Marie J. Taylor

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