The Gog Magog Golf Club in Cambridge recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of their Ladies’ Introduction to Golf scheme.
Just over ten years ago, the club realised they had a problem; memberships were down and in the ladies’ section at least the average age was rising. They decided to take action and in 2008 introduced a rolling staged programme leading up to membership for ladies new to golf, or who wanted to get back into the game.
Their scheme begins with free have-a-go taster sessions organised by lady members and aided by Pros. This leads on to a six-week crash course of group lessons with a Pro on basic techniques. Next, is a six month series of group lessons covering playing on the course with practice in between, including local pay and play courses.
The final phase, which lasts up to a year, in preparation for membership. The ladies play in off-peak periods on the Gogs courses with a club member, submit cards, revise the rules and continue to improve their skills with individual coaching. Each of the three phases is self-financing.
Since the launch more than 80 ladies have joined the club, rejuvenating their section and bringing down the average age. Members who have been through the scheme are taking part in competitions and matches and have joined in social activities, run open days and helped with charity events. A number have served on golfing and social committees, with four out of seven of this year’s ladies’ committee having been through the scheme, including this year’s Lady Vice Captain. The scheme itself is now being run by a group who have experienced it themselves.
One key factor in its success has been the co-operative collaboration of the lady members, the club’s Pros and the club’s administration. Another has been welcoming the ladies taking part in the clubhouse from the beginning. Advertising has not been necessary, word of mouth via the membership and direct enquiries have sufficed to fill each new intake to the scheme.
As for the future, the scheme is still going strong with twenty-one ladies signing up for the second phase of the round that began this year. It is extremely hard work to run and requires commitment to participate, but for everyone, it is immensely rewarding.
In the words of one of the first to join the club from the first intake,
“I know how much pleasure I have gained from playing golf and the scheme enabled that to happen.”