I’m on the conference call now — but this is the news release from the RCGA about its new public player program. I have a lot of questions and comments — but those will have to come later. The immediate one that strikes me — is this actually enough to attract golfers? Is a handicap system and affiliation with the RCGA enough of a draw? Love to hear from G4G readers….
The Royal Canadian Golf Association (RCGA) and Canadas provincial golf associations announced today the development of Canadas first-ever National Public Player Program.
The National Public Player Program is a unique, affordable golf club membership option that is open to individuals, groups, golf facilities and large organizations across Canada.
Through the initiative, public golfers will join virtual golf clubs without property and become full members of the RCGA and their applicable provincial golf associations.
Similar programs have been very successful in the United States but this is a first for Canada. The program is targeted towards the estimated 2.1 million avid golfers in Canada that are not otherwise a member of an existing golf club.
For the first time in our 112-year history, the RCGA, together with our provincial partners are reaching out to welcome public golfers, said Paul MacDonald, RCGA Managing Director of Golf Programs and Services. Research shows that there are over five million unaffiliated public players in Canada, 2.1 million of which are avid golfers that average upwards of 29 rounds annually. The ability to connect with and organize such a large segment of golfers represents a terrific opportunity to grow the game of golf in this country.
The program will also feature a corporate component targeted towards larger organizations looking to add golf-specific value to their employees, clients or customers.
Two significant initiatives introduced in recent years by the RCGA paved the way for the new national participation program – the modification of the handicap system to allow internet posting of scores and the introduction of the RCGA Network, a real-time, web-based golf portal that provides state of the art handicap and communication services to members.
This is a significant partnership between the provincial governing bodies and the RCGA that we believe will ultimately increase golf participation across the country, said Kris Jonasson, Executive Director of the British Columbia Golf Association. Technology through the RCGA online Network is making it easier for public players to become involved with organized golf and as administrators of the game, we welcome the opportunity.
Public players will now enjoy easier access to RCGA programs and services including the ability to maintain an Official RCGA Handicap Factor, eligibility to play in RCGA and provincial championships and access to the RCGA Network and all it affords. Through the RCGA Network, golfers will be able to maintain their handicap record, monitor their performance statistics, communicate with fellow club members, search a course directory of 20,000+ courses in North America, view golf event calendars and get valuable information on all RCGA programs and services. Participating players will also receive a subscription to the electronic E-Golf Canada newsletter.
The RCGA and provincial golf associations have established an aggressive growth target for the National Public Player Program and hope to affiliate with 80,000+ public golfers through the next 5-10 years.