Introduction: Numerous golf clubs all aroundthe Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom are facing similar issuesregarding their future viability. The reasons may vary from club to club,falling membership and changing life styles are two examples, but one issuestands out as the dominant one, the lack of participation in the sport amongstthe young. This report will focus on theissues of one club in particular, Kenmare Golf Club. It will discuss theirissues with reference to a report from KPMG – Golf Participation Report forEurope (2017). This specific report touches on the demands and supply trends inthe golf industry across Europe.
It also analyses “the state of participationand the supply of golf courses”. This report describes that whilst there may bea slight increase in the number of golfers the courses themselves continue todecline. It also discusses issues more relevant to Kenmare Golf Club, such asfalling membership (hence falling income) and escalating costs around issueslike course upkeep. Assessment of Current Situation: Kenmare Golf Club was establishedin 1903 and is based in the small town of Kenmare (pop. circa 2175, (Census,2011)), County Kerry, South West Ireland.
Kenmare is located at the head ofKenmare Bay. According to a report from Fáilte Ireland (2016), the number of touristswho came to Ireland for golf was 44%. “Golf clubs are the only sector apart fromattractions to maintain their level of UK customers – 30% have increased theirlevel, 60% have had the same level, 20% have had a decrease from both theNorthern Ireland and the British markets”. The golf club had 393 members in 2017.There are two golf clubs in the immediate area, Kenmare and the Ring of Kerry, situatedeight kilometres from each other. Major issues that face the golf club are thestruggle to retain membership and rising costs, such as staff and the upkeep ofthe course. The golf club currentlyemploys one general manager and three greenkeepers on a full-time basis, aswell as two part-time staff members.
During the summer months, an additional twomore staff members are brought in for part-time work. Their roles are to workas waiters/waitresses, bar staff, pro-shop and on reception. The major difficulty for KenmareGC is the continuing struggle to attract and retain members. This has been especiallytough since the economic recession post-2008. According to thejournal.ie(2017), Ireland has only recovered by 41% since the recession, producing astrain on an individual’s spending.
The cost of an annual full membership inKenmare G.C. is €450. Many people see cancelling their membership as an easy cost savingdecision. At the minute,the club has a “vibrant youth section” of 40 girls and 70 boys. The CompetitionSecretary (2017) states that the younger members are “the future of the club”. However,most (if not all) of these members will leave when they reach third leveleducation or start employment.
Most will not return. Of those that do few willreturn to golf club membership until their 40’s. This is not just a financialissue (other expenses like mortgages and children) but also one of time,especially if you have a young family. Kenmare G.C. has tried to counteract thefinancial burden by offering a discounted price for an ‘intermediate’membership (under 34 years of age) €250 and a lesser cost for full-timestudents €90.
Another issuefacing golf clubs is the low percentage of women making up a club’s membership.Although at the moment, there is a male President of the club, every five yearsthey bring in a female. 2021 will be the next year of a female President. Whilstsome progress has been made over the last few years the fact remains that aKPMG report in 2016 found that in Europe 67% of golfers were male, 25% werefemale and 8% were junior golfers. The figures are worse in the British Isles; “Overthe last decade, females have made up only approximately 14% of golf clubmembership in GB&I” (Ladies European Tour, 2016). Kenmare G.C.
(with 20% ofadult members being female) has commenced a ‘Get into Golf’ programme. This aimsto bring in more lady members. It is a 6-week programme which includes lessonsfrom a professional.
They are also encouraged by other lady members and offereda year’s membership at the discounted price of €100. Current Situation of Kenmare Golf Club Currently in place Men Ladies Committee Roles General Manager: John Morgan President: Sean Daly Captain: John Barry Lady Captain: Maura Murphy Location Kenmare, Co. Kerry, Ireland Membership fee – Single Full €450 – Family €835 – 5 Day (Mon-Fri) €335 – Country €315 (must be a full-time member of another club >20kms from Kenmare GC) – Country Family €450 (both must be full time members of another club >20kms from Kenmare GC) – Overseas €335 – Student €90 – Junior €50 – Intermediate €250 (mustn’t be in 3rd level education and <34 years of age) Membership Numbers (2017) total: 393 Full Men's - 152 Full Ladies - 39 Overseas - 19 Juniors - 72 Intermediate - 21 Country - 12 Country Family - 7 Family - 12 Life – 59 (2016) total: 361 143 34 16 62 19 11 6 11 59 (2015) total: 362 137 35 15 70 17 13 6 10 59 Marketing of the club - Social media: Twitter, Facebook and website. - Local businesses sponsor their own tee box (i.e.
16th hole sponsored by Chartered Physiotherapy and Tom Crean Fish & Wine & Accommodation, 13th holed sponsored by Brosnan’s Pharmacy and Rockcrest House). – Each competition has various sponsors (i.e. AVIS car hire sponsored the Sister’s competition, Lee Strand sponsored the Brother’s competition). Sponsorship Heineken, Lee Strand, AVIS, Killarney Credit Union, Murphy’s SuperValu, Newbridge Silverware, Whyte’s Centra to name a few. The Future: When assessing the currentsituation in Kenmare GC it is evident that the club’s two main issues areattracting new youth members and to retain them once they reach 18. It is anissue that needs immediate attention.
Whilstthe club has tried to address the economic aspects of the situation by loweringannual membership rates it needs to do more to address the social aspects. Withthe norm now being that both parents work full-time it is important that theclub work towards involving both of the parents as much as possible. It shouldlook at introducing schemes to create ‘family’ days where all members of thefamily can be involved. To attract new members and makegolf more attractive to a younger audience, role models such as Rickie Fowlerand Lexi Thompson can show that young people can also enjoy the sport. Some work on getting new membershas already been done. For example, a unique programme instigated by the ILGU(Irish Ladies Golf Union) and the CGI (Confederation of Golf in Ireland) is theGolf4Girls4Life which aims to inspire and retain the next generation of femalegolfers.
This brings something unique to the sport and “the Ambassadorshighlight opportunities to travel, friendships, mental and physical healthbenefits, networking opportunities and enjoyment as reasons they have taken up,stayed involved in or returned to golf”. (ILGU, 2017). Golf4Girls4Life should be broughtin to Kenmare Golf Club because this is the target audience the club needs toreach out to develop the club. Action Plan: Goal: Increase the Number of Young Female Golfers Participating in Golf Specific The aim is to create a rise in the number of young female golfers in Kenmare Golf Club. The club should join up with the ILGU and execute the Golf4Girls4Life programme.
This brings something unique to the sport and “the Ambassadors highlight opportunities to travel, friendships, mental and physical health benefits, networking opportunities and enjoyment as reasons they have taken up, stayed involved in or returned to golf”. (ILGU, 2017). With opportunities like these, it will appeal more to the chosen audience, because it sounds like a fantastic prospect. Measureable We will know that this goal has been achieved when there is a clear increase in younger female golfers. Others will know through word of mouth as well as more publicity for the sport. Achievable Clubs should work closely with their national associations. Advertisement through print media, social media and links with local businesses could be used to reach out to a wider audience.
To achieve this, the club’s committee will work together along with the potential support of local businesses, national and international organisations. This will ensure young female golfers show their interest. Also, there is a possibility of professional female golfers promoting golf in individual clubs through pre-made presentations that get sent to each club (who wish to go with the programme). Relevant Through planning and going through all of the aspects, it saves time and money and utilises the people and resources involved.
If you aren’t receiving the results you hoped to achieve, you may have to revisit the strategic plan and review it. Timely This goal should be implemented over the next three years to ensure all aspects are achieved. Conclusion: In conclusion, Kenmare Golf Club’skey focus is to increase the number of young people, and in particular females,participating in golf. This can be by implementing ILGU’s programmeGolf4Girls4Life. “Based on feedback from female golfers across The First Teenetwork, girls are more interested in participating and staying involved ifthey have more female role models” (Breitmoser. C.
, 2016). Through working withnational organisations such as the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI), Irish LadiesGolf Union (ILGU) and the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), KenmareGolf Club can promote the sport to all young people, but specifically thebracket of young females.Reflection – StreetGames: The first StreetGames session Iparticipated in was not what I was expecting at all. I travelled to thelocation in North Cambridge and waited for the organiser of the footballsession. Myself and another student I was working with waited, but there was nosign of the coach. As it was an outdoor session, we went indoors to ask thebasketball StreetGames group leader if he had heard anything and told us it wascancelled last minute. We then partook in the basketball session. Because I wasexpecting to help run a football session, I was caught off guard but managed towork with the basketball group well.
The session ran itself after we introducedourselves to the group and they played a 5 v 5 game. From what I was told inthe previous lesson about the organisation, I expected the groups to be of ayounger in age, but this group was men over the age of 30, so it shows thatStreetGames is appealing to all age groups and it is used to unwind and provessport can be fun at any age. This session taught me that I can be versatilewhen it comes to change and how quickly I can adapt to various conditions.
Amulti-sport session was the next one I participated in. This was also based inthe North Cambridge Academy. According to a report from Cambridge City Council(2015), Arbury is ranked fifth on the ‘Ten lowest IMD 2015 ranked LSOAs inCambridge’, which is why it is a great venue to host StreetGames. This sessionran a lot smoother than my first session.
When I got there, I was greeted bythe regular coach. He talked through how a normal session is run, and thenintroduced us to the group of 10-13 year olds. For the first session, he tookcontrol and showed me the ropes, but when I went to the next session, he let metake more control over the running of the class. In the second multi-sportsession, I introduced myself again because there were a few new participantswho hadn’t seen me before.
I then told them how today would run, in the first30 minutes the boys would choose the activity and in the following 30 minutesthe girls would choose. This seemed to have a positive result, but if thisreceived a negative response I would have given the group a few ideas ofactivities and let them come to agreement and were very communicative in doingso. Or if they all agreed on another activity then they could have gone aheadwith that one.
I think these sessions should run around the participantsbecause they are the main focus. GenerationGames based in Kelsey Kerridge was a lot different than the previous sessions Ihave assisted in. I got there and there were three volunteers from CambridgeCity Council ready to go, so I thought it will be a large turnout. I was wrong.The only participants were two young children and their mother. The equipmentgiven was badminton rackets, shuttlecocks and nets, some basketballs andfootballs, and tennis rackets and balls, so there was a good variety, butunfortunately the attendance was not as great. I played basketball with theyoung boy and played badminton with the girl, then discussed the attendancewith the council members. I asked why the turnout was so low and if there’susually a higher number of people.
I was told that the numbers haveunfortunately decreased since they moved the location, but it also could havebeen because it was during mid-term so parents/guardians may have taken theirchildren away or spent time with them. The children who were involved in thissession thoroughly enjoyed it though, so maybe through word-of-mouth generationgames’ numbers may hopefully increase in time. Sessions like these show me howdifficult it is to run programmes like StreetGames. Many factors need to betaken into account (i.e. location, facilities, audience, funding), and it canbe a long process, but when you see children enjoying sport, getting involvedand making friends it is all worth it. The sessionI was most looking forward to, was the blind football session.
On a coldSaturday morning in Coleridge Community College, the blind/partially sightedfootball session commenced after I introduced myself to the other volunteers. Iwas given a background of how the session is run and introduced myself to someof the participants. This session reminded me of the practical session I had infirst year with the professional, Roy Turnham, who represented Team Great Britainin the Olympics. I thought it was inspiring how talented this man is. When Iwas given the opportunity to put a blindfold on and dribble around with thefootball with ball bearings in it (this allows the ball to make noise so theplayers know where the ball is) I understood how truly difficult it is, greatlyconsidering how talented these players are. In this StreetGames session, I wasoffered the opportunity to get involved again and I seized that opportunity. Ididn’t do great but I tried and they appreciated that I got involved.
Some ofthe participants in this session were regulars to the session, but there werealso some newcomers who were willing to learn and have fun. The facilities inthis session were adequate and the session was run smoothly. Throughparticipating in the StreetGames programme in Cambridge, I have learned andupdated some personal skills. Communication was needed throughout thisexperience, especially when it came to interacting with the participants. Ithink younger children listen to someone more their age because they are morecomfortable and have common ground.
You have to adapt yourself to your surroundingsand I believe I accomplished this well. Another skill I can transfer intoemployability is teamwork. In these sessions, I worked well with other studentswho were volunteering with me.
We split up some sessions so we could both haveopportunities to lead, and if either of us felt like we were unable to do atask, the other would assist. References: 1. Breitmoser, C. (2016).
GirlsGolf: Leading the Way with Female Role Models. Available: https://www.golfnet.
ie/news/ilgu/2305/50-role-models-to-be-announced-as-golf4girls4life-ambassadors.Last accessed 7th Jan 2018. 2. Cambridge City Council. (2015).
Findingsfor Cambridge for IMD Index 2015. Available: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/sites/default/files/imd-2015-findings-for-cambridge.pdf.Last accessed 7th Jan 2018. 3.
Fáilte Ireland. (2017). Tourism Barometer. Available:http://www.
Last accessed 8th Jan 2018. 4. Irish Ladies Golf Union(ILGU). (2017). 50+ RoleModels to be announced as Golf4Girls4Life Ambassadors. Available: https://www.golfnet.ie/news/ilgu/2305/50-role-models-to-be-announced-as-golf4girls4life-ambassadors.
Last accessed 7th Jan 2018. 5. KenmareGolf Club. (2018). History of the Club. Available:https://www.kenmaregolfclub.
com. Last accessed 3rd Jan 2018. 6. Kennedy, K.,(2017). Discussion on Kenmare Golf Club.
(Personal communication, 4th Jan 2018). 7. KPMG. (2017). Golf Participation Reportfor Europe 2017. GolfBenchmark.
com. 1 (1), pp.1-12.
8. Ladies European Tour. (2016). HugeIncrease in Female Golf Participation In GB&I. Available:https://ladieseuropeantour.com/huge-increase-in-female-golf-participation-in-gbi/.Last accessed 6th Jan 2018.
9. NíAodha, G. (2017). Ireland has only recovered by 41% from the recession. Available:http://www.
thejournal.ie/ireland-has-recovered-from-the-recession-by-just-41-3688021-Nov2017/.Last accessed 6th Jan 2018.