Who should get the Harry Colt Award?

By: May 15, 2016

The European Institute of Golf Course Architects has presented its Harry Colt Award to the Golfing Union of Ireland. The award, which is given to an organization or individual that have made an outstanding contribution to golf or golf development, was made to Kevin McIntyre, the President of the GUI, at Royal Belfast Golf Club at the culmination of the EIGCA’s annual meeting. Last year, the Golf Environment Organization (GEO) has received the Harry Colt Award.

Harry Colt Award winners

How could they earn the Harry Colt Award?

The Confederation of Golf in Ireland held various promotions in 2015 to grow the game:

  1. Community Awareness Days – in schools, colleges, universities and corporate days;
  2. Awareness Days at Golf Events – Challenge Tour, Irish Open, Irish Golf Expo

Just in these programs, 15,000+ people participated. In their ‘Active School’ promotion, 4000+ kids had participated. I think it was a great idea to use Wii to promote golf. The Confederation of Golf in Ireland has also realized the importance of training golf club managers.

As part of the “Keep people in the game” program, they held various training:

  1. Business planning process for 50 golf clubs;
  2. Safeguarding Courses for 118 golf clubs;
  3. Leaders Workshops for 500+ volunteers;
  4. 13 networking seminars;
  5. 2 management development programs.

What is more interesting is that their “Getting more people to play golf” was so effective that 60% of the participants became golf club members:

  • 48 Taster Sessions = 826 participants;
  • 59 Programs = 1177 participants;
  • 20 Support Projects = 501 participants;

John Roche at the Annual Conference of the PGAs of Europe told us that one of the keys to their success was the collaboration local and international organizations (e.g. European & Challenge Tour, Scottish Golf Union, England Golf, Golf Union of Wales, Dansk Golf Union etc.).

Together with Deloitte they have even developed a Governance Guide for golf clubs. Unfortunately, the guide does not give a help to golf clubs’ sales and marketing leaders how to manage and treat golf club members as customers (e.g. how to develop customer journeys, how to measure customer experience, CRM etc.).

In the very same year (2015), golf participation declined in Ireland by 2.7%. Today, Ireland has about 192,507 registered golfers. Nevertheless, the golf participation rate is still one of the highest in Ireland: 4.1% (3rd highest; Source: KPMG: Golf participation in Europe in 2016).

As we could see above, Ireland is on the right track to grow the game. However, on a golf club level, we should carry out the necessary changes as well (e.g. is it profitable to keep up 18 holes?; revise membership model and pricing; utilization of social technology to provide bespoke services and products; how to become more family focused? etc.).