Silverdale strikes gold in drive to grow golf

SILVERDALE Golf Club has won a national title for its drive to grow the game. The 18 hole-course Lancashire’s most northerly border with Cumbria has achieved the GolfMark award from England Golf.

GolfMark is an official seal of approval for clubs which successfully work to develop the game in four ways: By attracting new members and encouraging existing members to play more; using practical business planning to develop the club;  offering coaching and playing opportunities for all golfers and ensuring safeguarding policies are in place.

The club enjoys a unique location – lying at the heart of the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Natural Beauty and adjacent to the Leighton Moss RSPB reserve with fabulous views over the surrounding countryside, across Morecambe Bay and towards the Cumbrian Howgill Fells.

It is a club that has worked hard to put itself at the heart of the local community, opening up its facilities to local clubs and organisations as well as taking golf out into the surrounding area, and is only the second in Lancashire to achieve the current GolfMark award.

PGA professional Sam Matthews runs regular Get into golf sessions across the ages, including a Saturday morning club for juniors, and works with neighbouring primary schools to promote the sport.

To encourage the whole family to get involved, the club offers buddy memberships for parents or grandparents which enables them to play out on the course with the younger generation.

Jerry Martin, golf manager, says the club believes it is important to be active in the area – and not just as a golf club.

He said: “We host many non-golf organisations, run a 100 club in the village, and also support local sports days and village events by running target golf stalls. We have run golf as a night school activity while our steward Stephen Edwards is renowned for his bar food and holds Eddie’s Fish and Chip night every Friday which is open to anyone who wants to enjoy fine cooking.

“We are also one of the stopping off points on the annual Arts and Craft Trail, when we will exhibit a number of local artists in the clubhouse.

“We hold a Golf and Beer festival as part of our Open Week when we put on 20 plus real ales and it is fair to say the event enjoys the kind of atmosphere you might not expect to find at a golf club! But we want to show golf is fun and the idea that it is stuffy and too formal is a thing of the past.”

Other innovative ideas include a caravan membership for those regular tourists to a popular destination for holidays or weekend breaks and a flexible membership, which sees a smaller membership fee linked to a £5 green fee for every round played.

Jerry added: “We want to encourage people on to the course, for them to find golf is fun and that there are flexible ways of playing and paying for the sport that fit into their lifestyle choices. We want to offer something that suits everyone.”

The award was presented by Adam McAlister, one of two County Development Officers for the Lancashire Golf Development Group, which works to help clubs attract new golfers and retain existing members.

He said: “Silverdale are to be congratulated on their proactive approach to achieving GolfMark and encouraging the next generation of players into the sport.”

The GolfMark award was developed by England Golf and also integrates Sport England’s Clubmark award – a national standard for quality sports clubs recognised across the country. To find out more about GolfMark visit www.golfmark.org

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