Cowglen GC launches revolutionary junior membership category

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 11, 2018 15:19

Cowglen GC has launched a new membership category, in which for just £100 per year, a youngster can play almost unlimited golf at the club – with up to two nominated adults.

Simon Payne

Junior + membership is a brand-new membership category which has been introduced at Cowglen Golf Club, a James Braid 18-hole parkland course on the south side of Glasgow.

The club believes that the new membership, which had already been introduced for players up to the age of 14 in order to allow their parents the opportunity to let their kids try the game without expense, is unique as it offers adults free golf when they are playing with the Junior + member.

Yes, you did read that correctly! Junior + membership equates to free golf for adults. There is no catch, no small print, no ‘if it seems too good to be true it probably is’ and no limits on how much golf the adult can play.

The main goal for introducing this category is to increase junior participation at the club.

Cowglen is not alone in being a golf club that wants to encourage more youngsters into the game. It considered the fact that joining a club as a junior has never been less expensive than it is now; in fact it is fast becoming the norm for clubs to be offering free membership, such is the desire to try and attract new junior members.

Plus, feedback from several PGA coaches is invariably the same: The numbers attending coaching does not transfer to juniors playing the game.

In addition, junior playing restrictions at Cowglen are almost nil. Gone are the days when there were only certain days and times that under 18s could play. These days juniors at Cowglen are only restricted from getting on the course for two hours of the week – between 10am and 12pm on Saturdays.

It was these issues that got Cowglen looking for a different alternative to try and Junior + was born.

Simon Payne a Fellow of the PGA and the club secretary / manager since October 2013, came up with the idea based on these observations as well as his experiences as a coach, and a parent of two boys, aged eight and 10.

“I didn’t necessarily agree with what seemed the popular notion that kids weren’t playing golf simply because they were constantly on their games’ consoles or tablets. I’m not saying that this is not an issue that all parents have to deal with these days but having experienced first-hand the numbers of activities that children take part in and the lengths their parents go to involve them, it definitely isn’t the sole reason.

“The idea evolved over time but was hugely influenced by the tennis club that my boys are members of where I can play with them even though I’m not a member. The tennis club obviously want to see the kids on the court as much as possible and not only attending when there is coaching organised. They understood that for most children their only means of getting there is if their parents take them.

“Given the multitude of factors that parents have to deal with these days, it was felt that offering such a membership could give the opportunity to those who might not be able to justify the expense of membership of their own due to lack of time.

“There were concerns that some existing members may simply change category and enjoy the same golf for free however this hasn’t materialised as it would mean no social or competitive golf for anyone who chose to do so.

“The reaction and positive feedback on social media so far has been tremendous and there has been an awful lot of interest from people keen to find out more about it.

“So far four have taken up membership, a 10 per cent increase on the current membership number. Given the interest shown, the club is confident that there will be more once the poor weather improves. If we were able to get 10 additional members this year, that would be a magnificent result for the club. Not only that but if other clubs see this as something that might benefit them then that would be something that would make me and the club very proud of.

“Imagine if 50 clubs across the country see an increase of 10 juniors who can get out and play the game with a parent or a relation. I’m sure that’s something that everyone involved in the game would love to see.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 11, 2018 15:19
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