Clubbing together to help grow the game

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CLUBS across the north of England have attended a special conference in Northumberland aimed at helping grow the game of golf.

The Coaching and Development Conference took place at Matfen Hall Hotel and attracted golfing organisations from Cumbria, Durham and Northumberland.

It is the first time club officials and PGA professionals have come together for a day of workshops and presentations designed to help them make the sport as accessible as possible and develop projects to recruit and retain potential new players and members.

Speakers included the English Golf Union’s Golf Development Manager, Richard Flint, the England Golf Partnership’s National Volunteer Manager Philip Beard and Performance Coach Mark Bennett.

Xerxes Setna, Assistant Director of Information and Communications at Tyne and Wear Sport, offered clubs advice on how to make the most of social media sites.

Golf Foundation Development Officers Andy Leigh and John Wood gave an insight into their work in schools and the local community and how that can help the clubs develop.

Philip Beard ran a workshop to highlight the important role volunteers have to play in helping run or organise the many schemes designed to introduce more people to the sport, or getting involved in club activities.

The north’s three county development officers – Jane Robinson (Cumbria), Jonathan Ward (Durham) and Lisa Ferrie (Northumberland) – explained to the conference about how their roles can help develop the sport and support the clubs.

Regional Development Officer Jason Budd said: “The clubs, county unions and associations and the PGA professionals have been very proactive in supporting a wide range of schemes aimed at introducing more people to the game of golf under the umbrella of the county golf partnerships.

“It is not just junior golfers that have been helped into the sport, but those in the older age groups and people who have played the game in the past.

“The conference provided clubs with an opportunity to hear the latest thinking and ideas on how to recruit and retain potential golf club members and was a valuable addition to the range of support available.

“The aim is to help clubs further develop and sustain a vibrant membership.”

It is intended to make the conference an annual event and full details of plans for 2012 will be posted on the county golf partnership websites.

The Northumberland County Golf Partnership is supported by the Northumberland Union of Golf Clubs, the Northumberland Ladies County Golf Association, the Northumberland Junior Golfing Association and the Professional Golfers’ Association.

For more details of its activities, visit www.northumberland cgp.co.uk