WELCOME TO ISLE OF MAN GOLF
Golf has been played on the Isle of Man since the 1890’s and, over the period since then, the game has evolved from hickory clubs and feathery balls to today’s newest designs in drivers with shafts able to propel the golf ball vast distances.
The game of golf is like no other; the challenge is against yourself and the course, and always will be. This is part of the attraction of the game to young and old, as it is possible to play golf on any continent and enjoy competition or a social round with anyone.
Golf is a test of physical and mental skills. One day your focus is good and you play well and, on another day, it can be as if you had never held a club before. It is a challenge to become a better player, but it is all these things which make golf such a good sport for all ages and abilities, and we would like to see more players enjoying the game.
Golf clubs on the Isle of Man have all gone through periods of thriving and declining membership, players moving from one club to another and fluctuations in junior membership.
It is a constant struggle for clubs to come up with new ideas, innovative membership fees and to now realise that more footfall is needed in the clubhouse; perhaps by sharing with other sports clubs or by franchising out the facilities to an entrepreneur who will attract new customers, all of whom are potential members.
This challenge to Isle of Man golf clubs is not unique as, across the UK, golf clubs have been struggling to bring in more members but, taking all into account, the tide is turning and golf, quite rightly, is attracting new players to the game. Some of these are the time-poor 25 to 45 year olds who don’t want to spend 5 hours playing, so clubs are being more creative in holding competitions over 9 holes to allow people to play, socialise and then get back to work or family.
More ladies are playing the game and this is very encouraging as they see it not only as a competitive sport, but also as a good arena for social interaction, all of which helps golf clubs grow stronger.
Social events in the evenings, golf for families and other such initiatives are attractive, bringing new people through the door of the clubhouse, which again creates opportunities for membership to increase.
The days of a golf club being able to operate successfully purely based on membership are long gone and our clubs need to review activities, perhaps revise their Boards and Committees, in order to survive against competition from other activities or sports.
How best do golf clubs defend their membership and grow their businesses? This question has never been as important as it is now, so golf and golfers must change if clubs are to survive.
The merger of the men’s and ladies’ organisations into one body in October 2015, “Isle of Man Golf” (the trading name of Isle of Man Golf Union Limited), gives us all new opportunities to improve the game, increase membership and get more people playing golf. One body responsible for the Promotion, Encouragement and Development of golf has to be good.
Not only is the focus on making our better players even better through defined coaching, encouraging play in more challenging competitions, and achieving success at National and International level, but also on encouraging and facilitating junior golfers and adult beginners at the start of their golfing journey.
Our Island is blessed with tremendous sports facilities and this, together with the encouragement of Manx Sport & Recreation in providing outlets for achieving excellence in many sports, gives our future athletes better choices going forward.
Golf is now considered a Community Key Sport by Manx Sport and Recreation, and it is our aim to build on this and continue to develop pathways into membership and get more people playing golf.
Agreement was reached at the end of 2015 to appoint a Golf Development Officer and this part-time paid position is supported financially by Manx Sport and Recreation, England Golf and Isle of Man Golf.
Melanie Jansen took up the role in March 2016 giving Isle of Man Golf a better opportunity to work with clubs, help coordinate starter activities throughout the Island and assist clubs to thrive in the modern world. Melanie remains enthusiastic and active in increasing awareness of golf and the benefits of club membership throughout the Island.
Isle of Man Golf’s structure consists of four main committees:
Finance, chaired by
Golf Development, chaired by Mel Jansen
Club & Member Services, chaired by Gail Corrin
Tournaments & Championships, chaired by Antony Crawley
As with any organisation, much support is received from volunteers who give up their time regularly to help promote and develop golf further. More volunteers are always welcome, even if it is for specific competitions or to discuss new and better ideas. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to get involved.
With the exception of the Junior Competitions which should be entered via your club, all the Isle of Man Golf competitions listed below may be entered online by clicking here.
Our sponsors over the years have been excellent and we look forward to being able to highlight successful golf to them throughout this year.
With one overall body, many sponsors are very pleased to be associated with the game of golf in that it helps their overall strategy for community support being an all-encompassing sport for life.
We continue to be grateful for their support which comes in so many different forms.
Whether we are seeking success individually or as golf clubs, we need to know our starting point, track our performance and measure the improvement.
Our top players are coached in these areas and advised not to practice what they do well, but to concentrate on the weaker areas until they see improvement. This all takes time and patience, and there will be an element of frustration. Marginal gains in several areas are very important, as they can add up to a big difference.
Much the same is the position with our golf clubs. The Business Growth Forum held in January highlighted that identification of the key areas for change and improvement are vital, as is a coherent plan encompassing owners, management and members. Isle of Man Golf, with England Golf in support, are committed to helping our golf clubs thrive through increased membership and generally, more people playing golf.
We all need help, and by encouraging more communication across our clubs, and learning from each other, we will hope to will achieve much more into the future.
Left to right: Gary Jakeman, Bob Love, Robbie Radcliffe, Anne Gundry, Anthony Crawley, Dee Lewis, Gail Corrin, Geoff Skillicorn, Steve Keegan, Terry Groves.