Golf group comes up with an amazing new type of golf course

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 31, 2017 11:02

A company that owns seven golf courses in the UK has introduced golf holes unlike anything we’ve seen before at three of its venues.

Designed to attract families, the holes have no par on the scorecard and visitors can play golf or footgolf on each hole.

If they choose to play golf, the cup is nearly twice the size of a standard cup.

Glendale Golf is calling each course ‘The Fun Course’ and they have replaced the three par three golf courses at Duxbury Park GC in Chorley, Tilgate Forest GC in Crawley, and Edwalton GC in Nottingham.

Each hole now has two tees, and two holes cut on each green. Forward tees play to footgolf-sized holes while the tees further back play to special eight inch holes on the green – almost twice the size of the sport’s standard 41Ž4 inch holes.

Easy-to-use SNAG Golf equipment for everyone from small children to adults is also available for free hire on the Fun Courses at Tilgate Forest and Edwalton.

 

Lancashire venue Duxbury Park Golf Centre has gone a step further, and has also created a ‘Golf & Games Family Park’ which mixes golf with other fun ways for a family to spend their time.

As well as a four-hole pitch and putt course with giant holes and SNAG Golf targets, the park also contains giant-scale versions of familiar games such as Snakes & Ladders and Connect 4, plus a large sandpit complete with a pirate ship. Entry is free.

There’s even a ‘Family Orienteering Course’ in Duxbury’s Fun Park, designed with assistance from British Orienteering, which charges a nominal entry fee – which includes a drink. The experience lasts roughly 30 minutes, and is set safely away from the golf in a separate walled garden area.

Tilgate Forest also has an added extra, but again it is another new approach. Part of its driving range has been converted into a ‘Family Fun Zone’, with brand-new colourful targets and a special points-scoring system which drives a variety of fun family participation games. Food and drinks are served directly to you in the bays, which are super-sized to enable safe dining while people are playing their golf games.

And instead of paying for a bucket of balls, Tilgate Forest’s Family Fun Zone charges for the time you spend in the bay, with unlimited balls during that time.

The Family Fun Zone at Tilgate Forest Golf Centre has been part-funded by England Golf. Head of club support Abbie Lench said: “Our strategy at England Golf is to put the customer at the heart of everything we do and it’s so encouraging to work with Glendale Golf, who really listen to their customers in order to provide them with what they want – which is fun for all the family.  The Family Fun Zone is a great example of golf as a game which all the generations can enjoy together. We’re looking forward to sharing what we learn with other clubs that want to be family-friendly.”

Glendale Golf’s managing director Tom Brooke describes why these changes have been made. “We took a step back and looked hard at how families with children, as well others new to golf, were interacting with our centres, and realised that we needed to take further steps to encourage more participation and interaction with local communities.

“For example, par three courses are often aimed at beginners, but we asked ourselves – what does ‘par’ really mean? Is playing a 150-yard hole with a tiny cup to aim for on the green realistically achievable in three shots for a beginner? Not really. We’re making the sport easier, and emphasising enjoyment, so the name change to Fun Course from ‘Par 3 Course’ seemed natural.

“We believe that simply running a few beginner golf lessons and relaxing dress codes won’t do enough to bring more people into the nation’s golf centres. Golf needs to be made far easier for children and beginners. It also needs much more of a fun element if we really are to break down the barriers to entry. We’re looking forward to continuing our work with England Golf on this.”

He continued: “Dropping par, providing SNAG Golf equipment, implementing more non-golf activities, re-naming certain parts of our golf centres and charging for time rather than balls used on the range – these and other original ideas came out of a series of discussions with staff at our centres. And then we all worked very hard to get everything in place for the summer holidays! We are all excited to see how the new innovations will be received by our customers. The early signs are good and we had fantastic attendance at our recent launch events. Over 300 people attended the launch of the Golf and Games Family Park at Duxbury for example, which is a source of great pride for the team there.”

However, Brooke also has a point to make about the more familiar side of the sport: “Golfers who play the traditional 18-hole game are still well catered for of course, at every one of our seven golf centres,” he said. “Clearly we feel it is key to involve newcomers and families in golf, but we also continue to focus our energies on providing the highest-quality golf experiences for the traditional golfer.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 31, 2017 11:02
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2 Comments

  1. Andy August 1, 07:23

    Well done Glendale Golf. It will be good to see how these changes work both in terms of creating new golfers and helping the sustainability of the sites that have “FunCourse”.

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  2. Pete August 6, 12:45

    Hey, how about the 250+ golf courses where “Lite Golf” is being played. It’s the same traditional form of golf on shorter time efficient par 3, executive & mid-length courses using a new Hybrid golf ball (meets US Standards). Promotes the same game in half the time & cost, with less frustration and more enjoyment. Ball floats, reduces damage and creates an improved standard for shorter course play.

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