Golf club lead way in membership drive

PGA professional Colin Burgess takes a break from junior coaching session to present 13-year-old Chloe Fazackerley with a claret jug she won in a putting competition
PGA professional Colin Burgess takes a break from junior coaching session to present 13-year-old Chloe Fazackerley with a claret jug she won in a putting competition
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Leyland Golf Club is bucking the national trend in dwindling memberships by introducing initiatives which could serve as a benchmark for others to take heed of.

They include a variety of flexible packages offering affordable playing and inducements for complete beginners to take up the game.

Only a few years ago Leyland ran into difficulties when, after funding a new clubhouse to replace the old one destroyed by fire, they faced an annual course rental increase of £30,000.

“We had to batten down the hatches,” recalled chairman Norman Graham.

“Our treasurer Danny Winston kept a tight rein on the finances but unfortunately it was also at the time when golf was going downhill largely due to the economic situation.

“Membership numbers started to drop; in one year we lost 100. When we were down to 500 we had to do something to reverse the problem.”

The club embarked on an ambitious plan to restore its fortunes by introducing membership categories to suit all genders, ranging from 20 and 40 rounds a year to the run alongside the regular five and seven day sections.

They also targeted beginners, particularly juniors and females, by offering cheaper entrance fees.

Two-year academy memberships which allow women to play without handicaps with existing members. Today, that section is 80-strong with 50 regularly playing in Sunday competitions to facilitate people who work.

There is a 60-strong junior presence, with 10 free places for girls. Sunday morning coaching sessions for younger members are held under the tutelage of long-serving PGA professional Colin Burgess.

The clubhouse dress code has been removed and the club has reduced the senior subsidy.