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Golf England in push for Amateur Golf

The English Golf Union (EGU); Centrica/AA and AdvancedWave Limited have set up a new company to manage the commercial business of amateur golf to provide golf clubs, members, associates and, ultimately, the game of golf with a range of benefits and services.

The objectives of the new company, Golf England Limited, are to;

  • Help improve the financial position of clubs
  • Encourage more people to play golf
  • Generate funds for reinvestment in the game
  • Provide golfers with a broad range of golf-related benefits

Central to Golf England's offering is a multi-functional smart card that will enable the EGU and clubs to access a central register of handicaps for club and non-club members. The card will also carry identification allowing golfers to enter competitions and take advantage of discounts on golf equipment and merchandise and a range of other discounts and privileges. Golfers will have the option of using the card as credit card - spend on which they can earn reward points.

Clubs will not only benefit from administrative savings but also from a competitive group purchasing programme which will save them money on a range of goods and services required to run a golf club.

The new partnership has been outlined to golf club officials at seminars held throughout the country.

Paul Baxter, Chief Executive of the EGU says: "This is a truly historic event for English golf. We have worked hard to open up opportunities for the game, embracing information technology, and we now have an exciting development that will bring real benefits to our 1,900 clubs, 800,000 members and 3 million other golfers.

"We have been seeking an appropriate partnership to help us realise our ambitions - and this has not been a simple task. I am delighted that we now have two business partners who bring substantial commercial and technical expertise to the EGU's 80-year experience in golf."

Keith Nelson, managing director of Golf England and Business Development director of the AA, says: "The AA has its heritage in membership organisations and a long-established involvement in the leisure industry through our existing publishing arm which provides leading hotel, restaurants, golf and leisure guides.

"Golf England Ltd is now developing a system to be installed in clubs to manage tee-time bookings and fees, and setting up a bulk-purchasing and merchandising supply operation."

Speaking on behalf of AdvancedWave Ltd., managing director, Trevor Lafferty says: "We are pleased to be associated with the Golf England programme, which is one of the most exciting developments of an integrated lifestyle proposition in the UK today. Our strategy of deploying modern, yet proven, technology and easy-to-use services will bring a wide range of financial and other benefits to the amateur game of golf, its clubs, their members and the golf-playing public."

The companies forming Golf England

Centrica plc

Centrica is a leading supplier of essential services for the home and road. It offers energy, telecommunications, roadside assistance and financial services under the British Gas, Goldfish, One.Tel and AA brands.

The AA and Golf England Limited

The AA is already strong in leisure, with a travel agency partnership, plus a range of long-established golfing, restaurant, hotel and leisure guides. The AA itself has its heritage in membership organisations, and has expertise in harnessing the strength of diverse memberships to deliver better value for all.

The AA, through its relationship with the Bank of Scotland, will offer a credit card as part of the functionality of the new membership card, offering loyalty benefits to both members and clubs.

In addition to its share in the business, the AA may offer golf club members a range of products and services both from parts of the AA and from its sister companies within the Centrica group. These offers may include energy, telephony services, and travel and holiday services; as well as bulk supply contracts for gas.

The English Golf Union

The English Golf Union (EGU) is the governing body for men's amateur golf in England, representing some 1,900 clubs and 735,000 club members. It is the third largest such golfing body in the world and largest body in English Sport.

The Union was formed in 1924 by the then County Unions which determined the Union's three key objectives which still stand today:

" To maintain a uniform system of handicapping
" Run and organise National Championships and international matches
" Encourage, administer, develop and promote the game of golf in England

The EGU's investment plans for the future

Get into golf
The English Golf Union is the largest governing body in English sport. Its main objective is to promote, administer and encourage amateur golf in England. It currently has 735,000 golf club members and 1,895 affiliated golf courses in England. It runs major world amateur tournaments and its coaching structure has benefited players such as Nick Faldo, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose.

Free golf coaching for beginners - coaching days at venues around England encourage all comers to experience golf for the first time. Equipment is provided for these 1-hour free coaching sessions with a fully qualified PGA coach.

Associate Membership Scheme - aimed at non golf club members, allowing them to learn more about golf, rules and etiquette, competitive play and scoring and obtaining an official handicap.

Membership Vacancies - the EGU lists golf clubs with membership vacancies, allowing potential members an easy route for joining a golf club.

Junior Club Coaching Programme - the EGU assists its affiliated golf clubs to coach more young people by helping fund their coaching sessions, with fully qualified PGA coaches.

These initiatives are crucial for the game to develop and to provide an opportunity for more people to experience golf. The game as a whole benefits from more golfers; more coaching benefits the professional; more equipment and clothing required benefits the manufacturer, professional and golf club; more facilities are being used; and membership vacancies are being filled.

Identifying the champions of tomorrow
The EGU has developed a comprehensive coaching structure that has nurtured the likes of Justin Rose, Nick Faldo, Paul Casey, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.

AdvancedWave Limited

AdvancedWave Limited is a world leader in smart expertise with real implementation experience. It provides high quality e-business solutions, management and business consultancy, project management, systems integration, and utility based transaction services focused on e-business technologies and practices.

The team at AdvancedWave is at the forefront of developing business and technology architectures in support of e-commerce implementations and is currently implementing a number of smart enabled e-projects for mass roll out in the leisure and home sectors.

AdvancedWave key personnel were behind the build of the high volume transaction processing capabilities used by Banks implementing both Mondex and Multos based smart card solutions across the World.

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