Why Volunteers Are The Lifeblood Of Golf Clubs

Without volunteers, golf clubs would not be able to offer some of their much-loved sessions

Why Volunteers Are The Lifeblood Of Golf Clubs
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Without volunteers, golf clubs would not be able to offer some of their much-loved sessions

Why Volunteers Are The Lifeblood Of Golf Clubs

The Saturday afternoon junior sessions at Muswell Hill GC in north London became so popular – prior to the pandemic lockdown - that head professional David Wilton recruited a team of volunteers from the club membership to help run the sessions.

“Luckily where we are in Muswell Hill we have lots of chimney pots,” starts Wilton, who started at Muswell Hill as assistant pro in 1987 and became head pro in 1995.

“So for us in the city it is not a problem getting children into the game but the challenge is making sure their activities are well organised once they are at the club.

“Our Saturday afternoon groups got quite busy with 40 or 50 kids, so we recruited 10 members to help, men and women, and they went on a Level 1 PGA training course. It was not so much coaching but supervising fun games.

“Then I spoke to Under Armour and all our volunteers got some kit with the PGA logo, so they could all wear red tops for the sessions, to make sure they were easily identifiable to kids and adults. They really look the part.”

It is junior initiatives like this at Muswell Hill – which have been separated into smaller groups this year in keeping with Covid guidelines – that guarantee a successful future for the club, and such a dynamic junior effort would simply not be sustainable without the support of volunteers from the membership.

Muswell Hill’s membership has an allocation for 70 juniors.

Not only is the junior section now full but there is a junior waiting list of 120 names.

Related: How volunteers are helping to shape the game of golf

Volunteers at clubs like Muswell Hill are not just a nice addition, they are indispensable, the lifeblood of the club.

In attracting adult members as well as juniors, the role of volunteers is essential.

“With our ‘Learn to play golf’ programmes we have found that the social side of the game is really important,” starts Andrew Simmonds, a PGA pro with Orbis Golf, which manages 10 academies at clubs around the south of England.

“To integrate newcomers into the clubs, the key is to get volunteers from the membership to come along to our playing events, which bridge the gap between golf lessons and playing on the course.

"It helps new golfers a lot to play with someone who is familiar with the club and who is aware of others on the course and the speed at which they are playing.

"Having volunteers to help with that has been really key for integrating new golfers into a club and making them feel confidant and comfortable.”

Volunteers connect a golf club to its local community and bring in new members, and they also keep a club’s membership attached to activities within the club, by organising social events for members and contributing to the management and marketing of a golf club.

One way or another, a difference can always be made by a willing volunteer.

Related: PGA 2020 Vision Explained

Freelance Writer

Robin has worked for Golf Monthly for over a decade.