Non-members of golf clubs in England can obtain an official handicap from today

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 13, 2021 12:06

For the first time ever, golfers in England can, from today, obtain an official handicap without having to join a golf club.

England Golf has unveiled iGolf, which offers non-club golfers in England an opportunity to obtain and maintain an official World Handicap System (WHS) handicap index.

There are approximately 2.3 million ‘independent golfers’ in England; golfers will pay £40 per year to sign up to iGolf, which includes personal liability insurance.

Revenue generated through the platform will be reinvested into the work being done nationally to help grow the game across all levels, support clubs and the wider golfing community as well as providing a more inclusive and accessible sport for everyone, states England Golf.

“iGolf is an exciting progression for the amateur game in England and one that we believe will help safeguard the future of our sport. This new platform will help us to connect with a large proportion of the golfing public who we weren’t reaching before, providing a new avenue to grow the game across the country,” said England Golf CEO, Jeremy Tomlinson.

“When people have a measurement for performance in any activity, they naturally want to do it more in order to improve. By providing an official measure of performance for non-club members via a WHS handicap index, we can break down many of the barriers to uptake of the game. Our primary aim is to encourage play, increase the connection between non-club members and their local facilities and provide avid golfers with a clear pathway to club membership should they choose to make this progression. Through iGolf we can look to bring more revenue into the sport generally, and specifically for our 1,800 affiliated golf clubs and facilities in England.”

While iGolf is a new form of subscription, it is not designed as a replacement for club membership which still provides golfers with unique benefits. England Golf believes iGolf could act as a key pathway to membership as the non-club member segment of the golfing population experience more courses, and the benefits of regular play and practice.

In addition, iGolf should provide new revenue streams for golf clubs through increased demand for green fees, supplementary clubhouse and pro shop spends, as well as the chance to market to a wider audience of golfers.

In order to maintain the integrity of handicapping, a system of checks and balances have been included in the platform, while education on the rules and etiquette of golf are also woven into the programme.

“We firmly believe that iGolf provides significant opportunities for clubs and alongside our membership campaign and other resources, we will continue to support the wider golfing community,” concluded Tomlinson.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 13, 2021 12:06
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