Golf Clubs go to the top of the class!
In this piece, the NGB for golf reports on the success of High Achievers, which allows clubs to continue to use the accreditation as a development tool and continue to improve their services and opportunities to young people taking part in sport.
GolfMark (incorporating Clubmark) is the national scheme that identifies and recognises junior and beginner friendly golf facilities.
There are currently 257 accredited golf clubs of which 52 have High Achiever status. This status was introduced in July 2007 to give golf clubs an opportunity to work towards an additional award and to congratulate those that achieved the status.
Golf clubs recognised by the EGU/EWGA as High Achiever facilities have met additional conditions over and above those minimum standards required for GolfMark, including a wide range of competitive and coaching opportunities, regular communication and enhanced structures.
High Achiever status can be gained upon award or upon 3-year renewal. Regional Development Officers are able to advise clubs on what criteria they need to meet to obtain High Achiever.
One example of a club that has achieved this High Achiever status is Bromsgrove Golf Club - the first in Worcestershire and Herefordshire to receive GolfMark High Achiever Award. It has a long history of supporting and developing young golfers. Amongst the first to achieve Junior GolfMark and was delighted recently to be the first Club in Worcestershire and Herefordshire to receive High Achiever status. Centre Director Philip Morris said: "It took a great deal of time and effort by a number of people at the Centre and within the Golf Club, we had already made great steps by achieving the Junior GolfMark award 3 years ago and this seemed to be a natural progression and part of our development plan for junior golf."
Another success story is that of Stoke by Nayland Golf Club. In May 2009, Head Professional Roly Hitchcock and Junior Organiser Adrian Bullock at the Club met to discuss the benefits and its lack of the GolfMark Award.
It was soon apparent that undertaking the award would impact on many areas of the club, policies and procedures would all need to be reviewed to take account of the substantial demands of the award. Having logical systems of evidencing helped the process, with each area of the club requested to provide specific evidence. There were at times lively debate about the processes and changes to policy and procedure but generally, there was overall support from within the club to achieve this award.
The overall process was time consuming but very productive as it provided a realistic opportunity to review policies and procedures and the requirements of a junior golfer at the club, for it gave a ‘health check' on junior golf and a chance to update.
For example;- tracking the level of ‘active juniors', was a daunting task, yet it clearly displayed the numbers of inactive golfers that need encouragement and support to play more golf.
By August the club was ready for the assessment, it was thought that the club would not only meet the required standard of the award but accomplish the Higher Achiever Award. Therefore, it was with trepidation that representatives of the club met Steven Peet and Helen Tartellin on 1st September 2009 for the assessment and were delighted when the Higher Achiever Award was announced.
Richard Flint, EGU/EWGA Golf Development Manager commenting on High Achiever status, said,
"The GolfMark initiative underpins all EGU/EWGA development work in England and provides a footing for golf clubs to achieve great success. Those clubs awarded GolfMark have worked exceptionally hard to improve and enhance their opportunities. Those GolfMark clubs in possession of ‘High Achiever' status have demonstrated a further commitment to developing junior and beginner structures and those examples of best practice are being shared with other clubs. The 2008 GolfMark ‘Club of the Year' Award went to Tapton Park Golf Club, a high achiever facility in Derbyshire."
For more information on the High Achiever award visit the Golfmark website