More effort required
Often I read in the letters section of Golf Monthly opinions on why golf is in decline. I would like to share my experiences.
Despite growing up in Carnoustie surrounded by golfers, I did not start playing until two years ago, at the age of 29. Even with the advantage of friends who work in the sport, knowing ‘how to get involved’ was difficult. With advice, I booked ten lessons, bought a second-hand set and joined a club. This is where I encountered the biggest problem.
To initially join would be the first challenge for an organic golfer like myself, as rules stated I needed to be refereed by multiple members – a difficult task when new to the game. Upon joining, I received no welcome pack, no introduction to the club, no walk around or any other offer that would have assisted in making me feel welcome. In fact, the only literature I did receive was when my fees were due!
I hoped this was a one off, but when I was recently forced to relocate due to work, I reluctantly joined another club – this time an international hotel chain with a club attached. I hoped being in the service industry would mean something, but sadly not. I found the same familiar approach.
If clubs wish to attract new players, as opposed to poaching existing ones, they need to make them feel comfortable and welcome. Ideas could include welcome meetings on joining, understanding what people want out of a club and offers to play with similarly skilled members to help integration. An initiative to help with etiquette and rules on the course would also be helpful, as would existing members understanding that this great game is incredibly difficult to learn, and that patience with new players would go a long way. Andrew Carrie, via email
A lot of clubs do offer some sort of induction/ roll-ups for new members but I think you can’t do enough to help newcomers – especially those joining a club where they don’t know anyone – get involved in the life of the club. I really like the idea of a welcome pack too and see it as another great opportunity for the club to get new members up to speed with competitions and events and generally feeling at home.
How does your club treat new members?