These golf clubs run 9 hole scheme to tackle slow play

Rosemary Ayim
By Rosemary Ayim June 30, 2015 11:08

Uttoxeter Golf Club in Staffordshire has launched a scheme that offers nine-hole green fees and a loyalty card so that golf can be played in a short time.

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Surveys have shown that slow play is a huge barrier to people participating in golf, and just this week Daily Telegraph columnist John Timpson urged companies to no longer provide corporate golf days because of the time it takes to play 18 holes.

Over 40 golfers took part in ‘Golf Express’ at Uttoxeter, an England Golf initiative that offers nine-hole green fees and a loyalty card to encourage golfers to play more often: if they play five rounds, they get the sixth free.

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Uttoxeter also offers golfers the opportunity to play in weekly, after-work roll-ups, which are open to non-members, where a handicap is not essential and players are paired up with other golfers for what are described as ‘fun competitions’.

Gareth Shaw, Staffordshire county development officer, commented: “This is what golf is all about, having time to play the sport we all love and also have time to socialise with friends following the round.”

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Iain Lancaster, regional manager for England Golf, added: “The time it takes to play the game is a barrier to the sport. We are hoping that marketing the message that playing shorter rounds of golf to suit your available leisure time will be acted on by players new to the game, current golfers and even lapsed golfers; leading to an increase in golf participation.”

Following the Golf Express experience the clubhouse filled up with elated golfers, who sat with their fellow golfers and sampled the club’s food and drink, and enjoyed the evening as a selection of prizes were given for the two division winners.

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Uttoxeter member Paul Shaw commented: “Many golf clubs have run these type of nine-hole events over the years, but it is brilliant that now England Golf and Staffordshire Golf have put a national brand behind it.”

Howley Hall, the first golf club in Yorkshire to be awarded the latest GolfMark accreditation, is also offering Golf Express green fees.

Available after 5pm on Thursdays, golfers can play ten holes for £9 and there are plans to hold open tournaments.

Head professional James Whitaker said: ”Time is an increasingly important commodity in people’s increasingly hectic lifestyles and this initiative gives golfers in the area the opportunity to get all of the golf in half the time.

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“Very conveniently our tenth green is very close to the clubhouse and at £9 it is great value at less than a pound a hole. As popularity builds we plan to hold ‘roll-up’ events with prizes for the three best scores over the ten holes.”

Research from Syngenta shows that 54 percent of golfers are intimidated by 18 holes of golf and a nine-hole option gives the golfer choice.

Other clubs offering Golf Express are mostly in Staffordshire: Bloxwich, Branston, Calderfields, Darnford Moor, Dartmouth, Druids Heath, Izaak Walton, Lakeside, Lichfield, Mark Butler Golf Academy, Newcastle, Onneley, Oxley Park, Stafford Castle, Stone, The Chase, Trentham Park, 3 Hammers and Cannock Park.

 

Rosemary Ayim
By Rosemary Ayim June 30, 2015 11:08
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