More ef­fort re­quired

Golf Monthly - - Your View -

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

Editor’s re­ply:

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?

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