Jeremy Tomlinson discusses golf's booming revival after lockdown and how the sport's image is changing
England Golf CEO: “I Get Fed Up Of Hearing About The Old Brigade”
Golf clubs in England were closed for seven weeks during the Covid-19 lockdown and there were real worries about just how bad it would be in the long run for clubs.
However, England Golf reports that there are now more than 20,000 extra golf members since lockdown restrictions lifted and the sport is now booming.
“It has bounced back amazingly well,” England Golf CEO Jeremy Tomlinson told the Golf Monthly Clubhouse Podcast.
“Golf clubs were shut for about seven weeks but it really felt that within that time, the majority of golf clubs were able to almost regather their thoughts with regards to who they wanted to be coming out of the pandemic.
“I think the majority of golf clubs, certainly in England, have been able to do that in a really positive fashion.
“Maybe it was a question of modernising, necessity is a wonderful thing. If you’re not going to take any money unless you do something [online bookings, card payments etc.] then you learn how to do it.
“I really think that a lot of golf clubs have started to do that and I think a lot of golf clubs have also out of this really started to realise their own value proposition to membership.
“Consequently we have in excess of 20,000 new members since May 13th.”
England Golf’s ‘Give it a shot’ membership campaign seeks to help clubs either attract new members or regain current ones, and it is certainly working so far.
With more than 20,000 new golf members in the space of a few months, clubs up and down the country are now beginning to fill up.
“It is a conundrum isn’t it [clubs being full] that we’ve been hearing for many years that there have been falling numbers of membership and I do think that there are some golf clubs that have themselves to blame,” Tomlinson said.
“It is a real shame, and I don’t use those words lightly, but they haven’t been taking care.
“I keep coming back to this value proposition. When any of us spend our hard-earned money, we’ve got a choice.
“Golf I think, those of us who have continually played the game all our lives, it’s an incredible game, it gives you exercise, it looks after you mentally, it’s great socially and from a health perspective it’s great from many, many facets.
“But for some reason, it hasn’t been able to portray itself in the right way and I don’t know whether it’s because there have been other team sports that have been hit but the most wonderful thing, as well as the number of new members, has been the age of the new members and the younger fraternity have been able to turn round and go, do you know what this really is a fun game and do you know what, that stuffy golf club isn’t a stuffy old golf club, it’s actually quite a welcoming place.
“I get fed up of hearing about the old brigade that are supposedly out there in golf clubs.
“Golf is the same as any sport, no sport is pure. There are good and bad people in it but golf has been going through a change for many years now and the majority of golfs clubs, certainly that I come across and experience, are very welcoming no matter what your age, no matter what your sex, no matter what your colour.
“And that’s an incredibly great thing to say.”
Listen to our interview with England Golf CEO Jeremy Tomlinson in this week’s Clubhouse Podcast (Interview begins at 16mins 35secs) –
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