A family friend lives in Woodhall Spa so I have made several visits over the years. I must have picked a newsletter up from the clubhouse at the national headquarters of what was then the English Golf Union in 2002.
“Free Golf for Beginners” it says. “Get Into Golf”, our new grass roots initiative. The newly created Golf Development Department aims to increase participation in the game – providing opportunities for people regardless of their age, gender or background – through a recognised structure called “Get Into Golf”.
A decade later Get Into Golf was heralded as a bold new initiative by what is now called England Golf. There was a splashy media launch at London’s Canary Wharf business district. Different logo but exactly the same product as 10 years previously. In 2002 Free Golf Coaching was apparently available at venues all over England between April and September. Why then was the 2012 rehash presented as a new idea? Had Get Into Golf #1 fizzled out in the intervening years?
Everything is changing at England Golf. The Chief Executive resigned this week so sooner or later there will be someone new at the top, if the body stays in its current form. The new Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch, has said that current sports policy isn’t working and she is prepared to rip it up and start all over again. She began a consultation process almost as soon as she took up office. Things will start to rumble around November 25th when the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review is presented and its consequences are known. Looking ahead it could well mean that on the development side, revenue could be streamed away from existing national sporting bodies like England Golf and moved to the on the ground deliverers, smaller groups who actively make people involved in sport such as Community Golf, based in South London.
Waiting to see with interest what the outcome of this will all be. This time I think everything will not stay the same.