Golf Industry Central May 2012 - Page 13

“We are giving out awards and have a person on staff who monitors the Tweets and Facebook entries.” Another initiative developed by Golf Australia is a Golf Leaders program designed for schoolteachers. Crampton said the benefits of the program would not been seen in the short term. The four-hour golf leaders’ course provides teachers with the basic knowledge and allows them to teach children the basic golf skills. “That’s been successful and already 250 teachers have been through the course,” Crampton said. “Research done in the US and UK says 65 per cent of people who touch golf in primary school come back to it later in life,” she said. “We don’t see all these kids transitioning into golf, but the MYGolf program links the schools with the local golf club and hopefully these clubs will nurture the children and their parents who bring them along into some sort of membership. “But if they don’t they can come back later in life because they have a level of comfort.” Crampton said it was up to clubs to convert kids from the MYGolf school program to club golf. “Clubs have to look at reducing fees because you can’t charge little kids the same fees as 18-year-old,” she said. “But the bottom line for many clubs is having enough money to stay alive, keep the course going and pay the staff. So, a full paying member is more attractive than a kid, but the child is the future.” I ask Crampton if golf clubs should be targeting the parents of children in the junior program. “Yes, I have said to golf clubs ‘if you are running a program for children, then what are you doing for the adult that comes with them’,” she said. “Why don’t you do something for them at the same time? “Nine out of 10 people bringing their kids to golf are women and one of our core objectives in the next financial year is getting more women into golf. “So whether they are helping with the children or going off and doing their own clinic or playing a couple of holes, it’s a way of getting them into the system as well. “Clubs have to think more laterally now because of the ever declining membership although golf is still the biggest participation sport in Australia. “The numbers are declining yet more people are playing golf more than ever. “Clubs have to think very differently about their membership and product offerings and well as their fee structures. “The clubs that have gone to pay by the month have probably benefitted because a lot of people in the 25-45 demographic don’t have ready cash.” Golf clubs will soon be able to benefit from a Best Practices Manual, which is currently being designed by a committee made up from Golf Australia, the PGA and Golf Management Australia (GMA). “We are looking at the whole governance, management, best practices, career pathways and other things,” Crampton said. “We are saying to clubs, ‘you do need to think differently’. “Most clubs are now advertising for members so things have to change and here is an avenue with young kids and their parents to get involved. “We have a massive amount of material we are working though, but we are not going to reinvent the wheel.” The online resource should be due for release later this year. Investment Opportunity a bet ter group-buying business for the golf industry. visit : group outings | lessons fitness | trial membership golf rounds | getaways Golf Industry Central May 2012 11