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Golf was shown a vision of a bright future today – for those prepared to grasp change and try new ideas which put the customer first.

England Golf’s first innovation conference, #MoreThanGolf, highlighted the way forward for clubs and golf centres which want to grow the game.

It turned the spotlight on new formats of golf, such as GolfSixes and Speedgolf, which offer shorter, faster – and fitter – ways to experience the game.

It looked at the importance of collecting and using data effectively, to understand customers and the best ways to appeal to them. It stressed the need to connect with customers in the online world. Fact: 16-24-year-olds are online 30 hours a week; 37% of their waking hours.

Clubs were urged to respond to the drive to encourage more people to become more active and to show that golf is a fun, healthy and sociable game for all. They were also challenged to grow by becoming hubs for their communities, benefitting both the club and the local area.

 

The conference struck a chord with Ryan Grumbridge, head professional at Oldham Golf Club in Lancashire, who is particularly interested in different formats of the game

"It's been great," he said. "We are open to new ideas and this is all about thinking outside the box while still trying to keep traditional values. I've also picked up several business cards from people I need to speak to."

The first focus of the conference was on new formats of the game with Fredrik Lindgren of the European Tour outlining the success of the recent GolfSixes tournament with players, fans and commercial partners.

The theme is being taken out to a young audience by the Golf Foundation, which has a proud record for innovation to encourage children and young people to get into golf. It is now running GolfSixes Academies in 32 clubs, offering team competition for boys and girls in leagues, with the all-important opportunity to track progress via mobile phones.

“We’re embracing technology and change to keep golf inspiring to young people!” said Development Manager Martin Crowder.

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