When launched, this platform will offer non-members of golf clubs an official handicap index and personal liability insurance.
The initial aim is to inspire golfers to play more often and to increase the connection between an avid, independent golfer and their local club/facility.
We will create a best-in-class platform with the ultimate goal of educating independent golfers on the value of golf club membership and inspiring them to follow this pathway to greater participation.
How is feedback being gathered?
England Golf staff continue to reach out to stakeholders across the country to gather constructive feedback on the new connectivity platform.
Positive discussions were held this week with three different groups.
Yorkshire Ladies’ Association – delegates from around 100 clubs took part in an online forum.
Somerset Men’s County Union – circa 30 delegates from clubs were represented at the virtual meeting.
GCMA – chief executive Tom Brooke updated on the GCMA’s working party which has been set up to represent the views of golf club managers.
Impact on existing flexible memberships
One question arising from this week’s discussions was: With good value, flexible membership already a standard in many golf clubs is there a need for the connectivity platform?
The answer sought to reassure clubs of the mutual benefits of the new independent golfer scheme.
The benefits of club membership, including flexible and lifestyle schemes already in place at clubs, will offer many more benefits to golfers than the independent golfer connectivity platform.
Options for golfers should complement one another rather than compete.
The platform will be designed to encourage independent golfers to move towards club membership rather than work in the opposite direction.
Club competitions and the independent golfer
With county and national events remaining open to golf club members only, clubs were also keen to discover to what extent they were expected to engage with independent golfers at club events.
Again, England Golf was able to set out clear answers.
Engagement with independent golfers and entry to club events is entirely at the club’s discretion.
For some clubs, providing competitive opportunities for independent golfers may present a way of showcasing facilities, membership and increasing visitor spend.
Alternatively, clubs may choose to have limited or no connection with independent golfers.
Terms of competition remain in control of the host club – this will not be directed by England Golf.