Matt Davies noticed that in the winter months visitor numbers at Llangollen Golf Club dropped off, leaving the club with its core members. They decided to see whether they could change this by encouraging local women to play golf.
How did your journey to become a PGA Pro start?
As an amateur I played golf to a reasonably high standard and even represented Wales. I knew I wanted to work in golf and became a greenkeeper. It was actually the Pro at Holywell, where I worked, who pushed me to turn Pro and train to be a PGA Professional, qualifying in 2006.
Why women and was there a specific reason?
Llangollen is a really busy popular place in the summer with a lot of visitors coming to play golf here. In the winter the numbers really drop off leaving us with our core members. We decided to see whether we could change this and looked into New 2 Golf and ran our first programme four years ago.
How has New 2 Golf worked for you?
The numbers vary year on year as do the groups themselves. We are constantly adapting our offer to make sure we retain the women who’ve come to us through New 2 Golf. Last year’s group loved their 6 o’clock sessions but at the end they weren’t quite ready to join the Golf Club, so we introduced a New 2 Golf Membership that allowed them to carry on with their groups coaching sessions, and use the club.
This year it’s entirely different! The women are really enthusiastic about the Golf Club and love being part of it. For them we’re offering an academy membership which includes five group and two individual sessions, plus unlimited golf.
How have you recruited new women to the sessions?
We do a lot of different things. The female members and my past New 2 Golf women take the flyers and put them in the places where they go in the local community. That could be the garage, hairdresser, health centre – all over really! I’ve also started speaking to women’s groups about trying golf, which has been really good fun. I have got 24 women from the local WI coming to me this year, which is fantastic!
Can you share any success stories?
I’ve had so much fun with the women I coach. There are two ladies from the club’s first New 2 Golf session who are such an important part of the Golf Club now and are great players. I guess what might surprise people the most though is that very few of the partners of my New 2 Golf women play golf! They come here as friends or they come to make friends.
What’s the best advice you could offer to anyone looking to grow their female business?
Take a long-term view. I had 70 women come to me for beginner sessions who at the end of the six lessons didn’t want to become Golf Club members. The jump was just too big for them. It would have been easy for us all to walk away at that point, but the Club and I realised the long-term value of their business and created an offer that would give them what they wanted – regular access to golf coaching and the golf club. By doing this we have kept all of them actively involved with the Club.