Pro-active PGA pro and club reap rewards

02/04/2013

One of Worcestershire's newest clubs has received national recognition for its efforts in encouraging the next generation of golfers.

Ombersley Golf Club, which was only formed in 1991, has been awarded GolfMark, a national seal of approval for junior and beginner friendly facilities which play an important role in the development of the game.

Head PGA professional Graham Glenister - who is also the club's general manager - and his team have introduced a wide range of schemes for would-be golfers of all ages and abilities.

The course offers a pay and play facility as well as the benefits of being a club member.

Coaching is available not only for juniors starting out in the sport, but also adults who are returning to golf or giving it a go for the first time at the club's golf school.

Activities include ladies coffee mornings and coaching, ladies days, short game clinics and group coaching for seniors.

Membership is offered through a number of flexible options, recognising the demands on both time and budget of those who may want to try golf.

"We have various levels of membership which are tailored to suit the different lifestyles of those who may want to take up the sport but who cannot, for example, afford the time at weekends," explained Glenister.

"For example we can fit the membership to the number of times someone wants to play, the time of day they can play or how involved they want to become in club life.

"These are very difficult times for a lot of people so it is important that golf clubs show themselves to be flexible and innovative."

That proactive approach has been matched on the junior side. Alongside the club's weekly coaching sessions, the team - which includes PGA professionals Ashley Dalton and Jamie Hodges - has also invited one of the local scout groups to give golf a go as part of their activities, an idea which is to be expanded in the future to involve other local community groups.

The club is also seeking to encourage players from other sports to enjoy golf as part of their sporting year.

Glenister, who also runs a youth football team under the umbrella of the Worcestershire FA, added: "2012 was a fantastic year for golf - topped by the Ryder Cup victory. Ian Poulter was a massive part of that success, but his commitment to golf hasn't stopped him following his beloved Arsenal.

"Golf is the sort of sport that can fit into the calendar of those taking part in other sports such as football or rugby and I think the sports can work more closely together. For example, we are looking at the possibility of running summer holiday camps which feature both football and golf."

GolfMark is a national scheme that incorporates ClubMark and recognises junior and beginner friendly golf facilities that focus on Coaching and Playing, Club Environment and Child Protection, and Duty of Care, all of which are extremely important to parents and children alike.

Adds Graham Glenister: "We already had many of the requirements for GolfMark in place, but this has been a chance to formally dot the is and cross the ts and provide the evidence to show that we are doing the right things.

"GolfMark is a clear signal to anyone thinking of taking up golf that we have the right policies in place to make it as enjoyable as possible while ensuring the safety and well-being of those taking part."

Warwick Holland, PGA professional and a county development officer for the Worcestershire County Golf Partnership, commented: "GolfMark offers parents the reassurance that the right duty of care policies are in place. It means a parent dropping off their child at the club knows they are in a positive environment with the emphasis on the right care and responsibilities.

"GolfMark also means the club is an ideal place for any beginner to start enjoying the game of golf with the right structures in place to offer positive coaching and a route into possible club membership.

"Ombersley have taken a very proactive and inventive approach to encouraging more people into golf against the background of a challenging economic climate and GolfMark is fitting recognition of their efforts."

Sharon Heeley, regional development officer for England Golf, adds: "Ombersely Golf Club is to be congratulated on its on-going efforts to make golf as accessible and affordable to people from all walks of life and to provide a positive environment in which to enjoy the many health and social benefits of playing golf and becoming a member of a club."

GolfMark is an initiative jointly provided by the EGU and EWGA via the England Golf Partnership's 'Whole Sport Plan' for golf and is an integral part of the England Golf Partnership's vision to 'Grow the Game'.

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