13 Apr 2022 | Participation |

Community central to the Get Into Golf success at Keilor

by Golf Australia

A focus on improving access and inclusion has driven Keilor Public's success with Get Into Golf.
A focus on improving access and inclusion has driven Keilor Public's success with Get Into Golf.

Heading out of Melbourne towards Bendigo, hidden amongst hundred-year-old gum trees, is the community-focused Keilor Public Golf Course.

Although owned by Brimbank City Council, it has been proudly managed by Belgravia Leisure for the past decade, who have approached the task with a focus on improving access and inclusion at the facility to create a welcoming and supportive environment for the local community.

Jack McDonald, Venue Manager at Keilor Public Golf Course, has worked closely with Golf Australia and Brimbank City Council in order to implement this focus in an achievable and sustainable fashion, whilst also appealing to those who reside in the area.

“We now employ a dedicated resource annually that oversees community engagement, program development and marketing to ensure our products have a local feel that resonates with the Brimbank community,” McDonald said.

A major component of the strategy put together by Belgravia Leisure has been implementing a variety of tailored Get Into Golf programs, which are intended to remove participation barriers for beginner golfers.

Michael McKay, Business Development Manager at Belgravia Leisure, believes one of the biggest barriers to playing golf can be the cost of owning a set of golf clubs.

“Tuition is just one part of a more holistic need for beginners accessing the sport. Not only does our six-week program for women and seniors include tailored clinics, but also full access to golf and driving range facilities, a golf mentor (club member), and importantly, cost-price equipment sales," he said.

“As a result of this generous equipment offer, participants are more likely to continue their golf journey towards membership. This program has various cogs designed to promote long-term access to golf, and we are excited when we see participants utilising all of them and validating the overall program structure.”

The 2022 Get Into Golf Women’s program welcomed 13 women to Keilor Public Golf Course, which for many was the first time visiting the venue, where they engaged with a PGA Professional in a range of beginner-to-intermediate activities as well as an on-course experience. 

At the conclusion of the program, two of the women became members, and now play frequently on Friday mornings.

Many of the women who participated, such as Marion, have found the social aspect of the game to be an unexpected but welcome surprise.

“I enjoyed getting some golf tips and learning how to improve on my golfing skills, but I especially enjoyed meeting other women," she said.

“I saw the classes as a social event as well as improving my golf game. I’m looking at retirement in a couple of years and I really wanted to take up the sport.”

Keilor Public Golf Course has enjoyed a large increase in participation since the start of 2020, including a 91% growth in memberships, whilst also seeing greater diversification as a result of running the Get Into Golf programs.

A separate Get Into Golf Seniors program has also been run at Keilor Public Golf Course, with a brief outline listed below:

  • Within Brimbank, the 60-69-year-old cohort has recorded the largest growth since 2011 (increasing by 17.9%). This cohort provides a significant beginner’s market for KPGC to tap into.

  • The program is scheduled at a time to leverage the wide funding available across the state for seniors’ festivals and celebrations.

  • The six-week program at KPGC had a similar structure to the women’s program, including unlimited access to the golf course and driving range, free clinics with the resident PGA Professional, unlimited equipment hire, half-price food & beverages, and cost-price access to all hardware. 

  • Despite being delayed by COVID-19 restrictions in Spring, the program eventually took place in summer and was a terrific success. Throughout the program, the nine participants enjoyed four group clinics, completed 50 rounds of golf, and made 37 unique visits to the driving range. 

  • Running the program has seen some amazing long-term benefits for participants –most importantly, helping older adults who are at risk of social isolation and/or sedentary lifestyles. The program has introduced them to people of similar age and with similar interests and skill levels, and paved the way for sustainable, affordable participation into their later years.

The success Keilor Public has experienced with Get Into Golf programs stems from their approach, using multiple methods to first connect with people in their community, whilst also implementing a range of internal processes to ensure the venue was ready, able, and willing to respond when new golfers came knocking.

Over 9900 participants and 265 clubs & facilities have been involved with our adult introductory program Get Into Golf over the last 12 months. Is today the day you get involved? Visit golf.org.au/getintogolf to find out more.

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