Strawberry Hill Golf Club, Middlesex

Strawberry Hill Golf Club GM2

Introduction to Club
Strawberry Hill Golf Club (SHGC) has served the local area for more than 100 years as a sporting and recreational centre promoting the sport of golf. A private members club, Strawberry Hill has an accessible 9-hole course and provides an excellent entry-level facility for both adults and juniors from within the local community. The Club has gone from being “just a small 9-hole course” to “9 is fine” and is now reaping the rewards GolfMark can initiate.

More Players
Through the Golfmark process the Club has become a Get into golf centre, offering low cost golf taster session to adult beginners/ improvers and to enhance its golf coaching.

SHGC provide four-week introductory Get into golf coaching sessions as part of the National campaign that attracted around 100 adults, of whom two-thirds were female. GolfMark has helped the Club to ensure they provide a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for beginners and improvers and provides the opportunity for them to experience golf in a non-intimidating environment and, importantly, to have fun!  Participants are also encouraged to undertake follow-on lessons, potentially leading to membership. 

More Members
The Club prides itself on its family friendly and inclusive nature.  This is borne out by the Club having amongst the highest proportion (currently 85 out of 240 members, or 35%) of lady members of any club in the region. They also have an active and growing junior section which has gone from 15 in 2010 (pre-GolfMark), to currently numbering some 40 boys and girls and 7 intermediates in 2014. 

Obtaining Funding
The Club was successful in achieving an ‘Inspired Facilities’ award from Sport England (part of the ‘Places People Play’ Olympic Games legacy funding) which has allowed them to upgrade its practice facilities through the installation of an all-weather practice teeing area and a double-bay caged practice net.  Much of the supporting documentation required by Sport England could not have been prepared without Golfmark.

Building Partnerships
SHGC have built up a strong working relationship with their County Golf Partnerships (CGP), supporting recruitment and retention initiatives such as South East Regional Golf Week in 2013 and through attending outreach events, providing people with a positive first experience of the game.

With the support of their CGP and a number of hard-working volunteers, the Club has developed a structured marketing programme.  Significant effort has been invested in local advertising and local/regional networking, which has arrested a decline in their membership numbers and led to increased participation in golf coaching. In addition, they have also built up great relationships with their local council, St Mary’s University and other community groups and facilities.

Outreach in the Community
Through their efforts with GolfMark, from declining membership and limited investment being made on the physical assets (the course and buildings) and people (staff and members), the Club has become a hub for the community and reaching out to prospective golfers of all ages and standards within the local community. SHGC has worked with young people with disabilities/special needs through Clarendon School (a school for children with moderate learning difficulties), the Crofters Club which is an after school and holiday club for disabled children and also with Richmond Young Carers. 

Competitive Distinction
SHGC has participated in a range of local community networking events including LBRuT Chamber of Commerce, Best of Richmond and Richmond Community Links to build its profile and links to prospective golfers in business. GolfMark has given the Club a competitive distinction locally and increased their status amongst their peers.

Improving Governance
Working towards and obtaining the Golfmark accreditation has allowed the Club to update and improve its policies and procedures, adopt best practices and achieve increased recognition in the local community.  As a result, the Club has had the confidence to pursue a number of exciting new initiatives which have been mutually supportive in their development. The Club has fully endorsed all the child protection measures and these are fully integrated into the day-to-day running of the Club - a reassurance for parents that their governance arrangements are fit for purpose.

The Future………
The GolfMark accreditation encourages forward thinking and proactive club and business development. SHGC’s sports development plan emphasises the development of links with the local community. The Club commissioned a market segmentation analysis by Middlesex County Golf Partnership. The data show the size/ percentage and demographics of relevant local population segments, highlighting communication strategies targeted to reach them.