Abbeydale Golf Club

The Challenge
Head Teaching PGA Professional Gareth Davies, from Abbeydale Golf Club in Sheffield, wanted to encourage more youngsters to join the club’s junior section.  Following discussions with other teaching professionals and researching the PGA website, Gareth decided to register the facility for the Golf Foundation’s Junior Golf Passport programme.  

The programme appealed to Gareth as it matched his teaching philosophy that children would enjoy learning to play golf if the lessons were fun. The Passport’s focus on developing fundamental movement skills and game based learning were additional motivations for implementing the programme at Abbeydale Golf Club.

How to attract youngsters to Junior Golf Passport sessions?

To draw more youngsters to the Passport sessions, Gareth emailed the club members to inform them that the facility would be offering the Junior Golf Passport programme, with the help of Assistant Professional Tom Perry. There was a positive response from members, and many more juniors joined the sessions through word of mouth contact.   

What are the benefits to registering for the Junior Golf Passport?
The number of games and exercises that the Junior Golf Passport offers are particularly useful features of the resource. Gareth believes that this variety of activities encourages juniors to keep engaged with the sport as “they are learning skills and techniques as they go…and as they keep getting better, the more they want to play. The games are all very adaptable so you can use them to challenge any level of player and they can then chart their own personal progress in the passport.”
The Passport booklet and online website are useful tools for young people to keep a record of their progress, and the certificates and wristbands they gain at each developmental stage provide the incentive to keep improving. 

Benefits to the golf club and players
The junior section at Abbeydale Golf Club has seen a significant boost in numbers since registering for the Passport and according to Gareth it is helping to ‘promote the club as a great family environment.’  Club members have enjoyed seeing Gareth and his team take the juniors out on the course on a Saturday morning, and as more young people are welcomed to the facility, other family members are beginning to join the club too.  

Delivering Junior Golf Passport sessions in mixed ages and abilities has been very successful at Abbeydale.  The club is often busy and does not have a floodlit facility so chose to offer a range of times that children could attend coaching.  Initially, there were parental concerns about all ages being taught in this way, but according to Gareth, these doubts have been proved unfounded. With many juniors busy with other after school activities it made sense to provide coaching at alternatives times so that youngsters could swap between different groups. According to Gareth, this has had its advantages, for example, the older juniors have enhanced their own ‘learning and people skills’ through helping the younger or less experienced players and in the process formed new friendships.
The impact of the Passport
Abbeydale Golf Club now has 35 young people registered on the Junior Golf Passport programme. Around 20 youngsters belong to a coaching group, several have become a member and a number of parents have also taken up membership opportunities. Moreover, in September 2017 the club became an HSBC Golf Roots centre so is perfectly placed to continue to promote itself as a family friendly facility. By progressing onto an HSBC Golf Roots Centre initiative, the club has also been able to access funding, resources and additional support from the Golf Foundation to help grow its junior section.
Implementing the Junior Golf Passport has “definitely given the junior coaching a real boost and will really help Abbeydale Golf Club to promote itself as a great family environment. I have no doubt that the scheme will help to boost all areas of membership (it already has!) through whole families joining us.” Gareth Davies, Head Teaching PGA Professional