Grow Golf – A one-day conference on how enterprise, innovation and connected and welcomimng clubs can help grow the game of golf

The challenges and opportunities facing golf…

Some people are claiming that golf is still working out how to fit into the 21st century. Golf has been a sport that’s been very resistant to change over a period but, like anything, the market tells when you need to change. The market has told golf over the last many years that it needs to look at how it runs the enterprise and the sport. It needs to attract new players into the sport and to get revenue from outside current members and income streams. Golf needs to become better connected with its communities

There are already a number of initiatives designed to making golf more accessible and welcoming to non-players. Academies, shorter forms of the games, including 6 and 9 hole options, countless numbers of driving ranges, Adventure Golf, Golf Express, Golf Roots, footgolf, big-hole golf, turbo golf, speed golf, ‘Tee It Forward’, etc. The list goes on.

These initiatives are often developed and delivered by people working within golf who are frustrated by a lack of willingness to change and, therefore, have decided to take matters into their own hands.

But also many of the game’s bodies are now delivering various initiatives to attract more boys, girls, and women into the game and also delivering golf working with schools and other community partners.

What way forward for the clubs?

Can the required change of culture be implemented in sufficient number of clubs?

Members and regular golfers are looking for the same level of customer service they might in a café, health club and hotel. This is their leisure time; they want to enjoy the experience and be made to feel as a valued customer.

Ultimately, golfers are looking for an experience they can enjoy, often with friends and family. So, the opportunity for golf clubs is quite simple: Attract more golfers by creating a welcoming and hospitable atmosphere.

Considerable research has been carried out looking into how to attract more players into golf clubs and get them to play more:

Reduce time and cost of playing

  • Developing a welcoming culture throughout the club
  • Allow people to use their smartphone and dress casually
  • Provide greater choice in terms of membership schemes (full-blown members, casuals, visitors, and nomads)
  • Women prefer to play with friends and family (there also seems to be an important link between females and juniors, with women potentially playing an important role nurturing young golfers)
  • Treat people as individuals – there is more than one type of golfer

In comparable sports, innovation and growth is often happening away from the traditional sports; in cricket Last man Stands and indoor cricket and park tennis is where things are happening in tennis.

Is driving ranges, footgolf or similar the way forward?

How do we ensure that our junior golfers are welcomed into the clubs and stay within the sport, regardless of playing progress?

Should we segment clubs according to people’s lifestyles? People, who go on Club 18-30 Holidays are not the same people, who go to Butlins or Saga Holidays!

A conference presenting real stories and ‘need to know’ support

The conference focuses on these issues, highlight best practice and provide thoughts, tools and to-dos on how to grow golf, in many different ways

This is not a conference packed with policy presentations. We hope people will leave the conference knowing they have heard some great practical ideas, having learnt how to make positive changes of their own.

Let’s highlight new thinking. Share experience from clubs that have changed and progressed. Learn from initiatives that have worked.

An event for people who want to see golf move forward and grow

Delegates will come from governing bodies of sport, local authorities, commercial golf entrepreneurs, community sports trusts, informal golf providers, community sports enterprises, golf clubs, public courses, developers and investors.

The Organisers

Over the last 9 years, Sports Marketing Network has been promoting the notion of innovation, enterprise and collaboration in community sport. Working with sports councils and governing bodies and the increasing number of community sports we have worked across England, Scotland, Eire, Northern Ireland and Denmark. 4000 sports clubs have participated in one of our Grow Your Club workshops.

We also organise a range of ‘hot topic’ conferences covering various topics within community sport.

Get in touch

If you have a great story to tell, then call Svend Elkjaer on 01423 326600 or email

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