CHESHIRE is one of four counties chosen to work in partnership with England Golf over the next two years to get more juniors involved in the sport.
Durham, Lincolnshire and Somerset are also joining the pilot project which aims to get more under-18s playing and joining clubs.
The latest England Golf Club Questionnaire, which is carried out every two years and tracks trends, shows a decline in junior membership. On average, each club lost three boy members between 2014 and 2016 and altogether juniors account for just seven per cent of club members.
Lee Dolby, England Golf’s young people manager, said: “It’s vital that we address the challenges facing junior golf. Cheshire and the other three counties have enormous commitment and enthusiasm for developing junior golf and involving more young people.
“I am very much looking forward to working with them over the next couple of years to see how much of an impact we can have and how we can inspire a love of golf to last a lifetime.”
Cheshire is already committed to growing junior golf. It has had excellent results with Girls Golf Rocks, the England Golf and Golf Foundation project to attract more girls into the game, and has just started a county-wide project to encourage more juniors generally. It has also run junior leagues for 24 years and has a talent pathway for promising youngsters.
David Durling, chair of the Cheshire Golf Development Group, said: “We have already identified junior development as a priority and are hugely enthusiastic about this project. It will help us increase the number of young people coming into golf and support the clubs which are struggling to run junior sections.”
Each of the four counties will have a bespoke plan which recognises their particular challenges and targets. They’ll be supported by Lee Dolby and the England Golf network of club support offers and regional managers.
This will include offering access to research, workshops and educational resources and help with marketing to a younger audience.
Lee Dolby added: “By working closely with counties, rather than individual clubs, we can look at wider solutions which, eventually, we can share across the country.”
See full story in the Chester Leader