Strathendrick was chosen as the 2013 RBS Junior Club of the Year Award as the leading new ClubGolf facility. This case study focusses on how the club achieved success in the first year of becoming a ClubGolf delivery centre.
1. The Challenge
Strathendrick Junior Convener David Hood, pictured above receiving
the award from Shona Robison, Minister for Commonwealth Games and
Sport, described the club as "dying on its feet", as recently as
the start of the 2012 season.
Due to falling membership numbers, competition from neighbouring
venues and no established method for attracting new members, the
club was experiencing financial difficulties, as they had suffered
financial loses over the previous three-year period.
Hood visited several golf courses as a fact-finding exercise and
for idea generation to discover how to tackle these challenges. He
found all of the successful clubs he visited had a vibrant junior
section and each was part of the ClubGolf programme.
It was, therefore, decided that Strathendrick would become a
ClubGolf club and more attention would be paid to junior issues to
the benefit of the club as a whole.
The club first contacted ClubGolf's Central Scotland Regional
Manager Mandy Martin, who provided the necessary information on
requirements for establishing ClubGolf at Strathendrick.
Once these points were satisfied, the club approached roving
teaching professional Barry Campbell to lead its ClubGolf coaching.
He was assisted by friend Jean Leitch. Leitch was later named on
the shortlist of nominees for RBS Volunteer of the Year. The club's
Lady Captain was also involved and became the club's designated
Child Protection Officer.
In response to neighbouring club Buchanan Castle's close ties
with local schools, and to avoid any possible conflict by targeting
the same audience, Strathendrick carried out mail shots and
delivered flyers to local community centres and stores in the West
Dunbartonshire area. Albeit a recognised socially and economically
challenged area, this allowed the club to attract the attention of
non-traditional golfing families.
For those looking to follow-up on ClubGolf sessions by joining
the club, a very reasonable one-year membership fee of £30 was
offered, which included 10 additional ClubGolf sessions.
To host the coaching sessions, the club created a specific
junior development area and allocated one evening midweek for
junior only access to this between 5-7pm.
Strathendrick also took advantage of the roll-out of the inaugural
ClubGolf Summer Camps by hosting its own camp, which attracted
seven young people for the week.
With the aim of attracting more female members, the club has
appointed the first ever girl as junior captain.
Internal competitions were established to bring each of the four
sections at the club (Senior, Gents, Ladies and Junior) together to
foster interaction and engagement.
By all of its collective efforts, Strathendrick attained 42
ClubGolfers by the end of season one. The target at the start of
the programme was 15. Catering for all interested parties also
meant that one midweek ClubGolf session soon grew to two, plus one
additional session at the weekend.
Hosting ClubGolf Camps generated great interest among adult club
members and many stepped forward to assist in the delivery of
coaching as volunteers. Seniors and Ladies arranged to take groups
of children onto the course after ClubGolf coaching for further
development. A six-hole mixed fours match has also taken place on
various weekends, when seniors and ladies take juniors onto the
course to play, while simultaneously instilling knowledge on
etiquette and rules.
The internal competitions fostered interaction between the
various sections and were among the most successful events in the
club's history in terms of entry figures. These included a Texas
Scramble, involving teams containing one member from each club
section, as well as a Ryder Cup-style competition pitting the
juniors against the adult members. According to Hood, this created
a great upturn in club spirit.
With the continued success of ClubGolf coaching and scheduled
competitive events, the junior section began turning a small
profit, which was reinvested. Campbell's fee as the pro hosting
ClubGolf camps was generously donated back to the junior section.
This helped the club to arrange two golf outings in 2012 for
juniors, helping to engage their interest further.
With an increase in junior activity, the club generated lots of
media attention, having several articles published in local
newspapers. This again helped to publicise Strathendrick as a
junior-friendly club and established the club as a fulcrum for the
local community. Representatives of the club have also been invited
into the studio of Your Radio for a live interview focussing on the
benefits of ClubGolf and how the club is helping the local
According to Hood, however, of greatest benefit to the club has
been the increase in club 'togetherness'. In his words: "It has
brought an ailing club together and the mileage you can get from
that is unbelievable. In golf clubs, a lot of long term members
don't want change but if they are going to survive they have to be
open to fresh, new innovative ideas."
Strathendrick has already exceeded all expectations which were
determined at the outset of a three-year development programme in
early 2012. Four additional coaches have been put in place to allow
the club to cope with the increased interest in ClubGolf
coaching, including a former junior who Hood described as "heading
down the wrong path" until intervention from Leitch.
A big focus for the club moving forward is how they can increase
girls' involvement in golf. With the appointment of the new junior
captain, Laura Jackman, it is hoped that the club can attract at
least another six girls to become involved in ClubGolf at
Strathendrick. The club has targeted between 12-15 girls to be
involved in ClubGolf in 2013.
If you asked Hood if ClubGolf works, his answer is a definitive