Today at Bowood

Changes have been afoot at Bowood too, with a re-think of our memberships and a push towards a new approach and era for the club. Identifying the barriers to play and how we can elevate the experience has been top of our agenda.

Golf is seeing tough times. But why? A recent article in Golf Monthly suggests a ‘recalibration’ within a growth and decline cycle is the reason behind some facilities closing.

But is the true nub of the problem just basic economics? Supply and demand? It’s not quite so black and white, but what we do know, is without external investment from the golf-playing public, clubs will continue to decline and courses close.

We thought it would be good timing for an update on what has been going on at Bowood so far this year. How we are building upon our latest appointment as an elite PGA member – read our Blog for what this means to Bowood, and our plans and aspirations for the club in order to secure its future.

Membership Exceeds Expectations

A recent article in Golf Monthly highlighted that the simple fundamental economic practice of matching supply and demand is the key to a successful golf club.

We recognise this fact and as a result, appointed Mark Sealey as Membership Manager in late 2018 to redress membership and its direct effect upon the club’s future and community.

He didn’t waste time, identifying the need to introduce new membership categories to increase accessibility especially for the younger golfers who were previously priced out.

If the club is to prosper, we need to look to the next generation. A fantastic course without players simply won’t survive.

With the help of our Director of Golf, Ben and the Golf Team, membership has increased by 40% in the last 6 months – a feat worthy of praise but more importantly, the right social glue to secure its future.

We are very close to having a waiting list for 7-day golf members here at Bowood with Academy and Junior Academy Membership increasing significantly over the past 12 months. Much to our delight, female members have doubled moving towards a membership equilibrium inspiring the next generation.

Challenges from the Course

Challenging times for our Head Greenkeeper, Jaey. We hope you’ve been following his monthly Course Reviews as he and his team keep us informed with what is happening on the course.

His hard work may not always be evident so it’s a great insight into how he manages the weather, plans maintenance and presents a course in tip-top condition.

So far this year Jaey and his team have been building upon last years’ extensive fairway renovation programme with the aim of improving play year-round.

The benefits of intensive overseeding with bentgrass will soon become evident as the greens show signs of seed taking root.

Keep an eye out for work due to start shortly on re-levelling selected tees too.

The Captains’ Vision

As membership has gained traction, so have our Captains Keith, Sue and Chris. They have been fundamental in making the club a more welcoming and informal golf experience for members and visitors, existing and new.

How? By adopting a fresh modern forward-thinking attitude. An attitude with ambition.

They recognise the importance of bringing golf into a new era and how younger golfers will be instrumental to the growth of golf and life of the club at Bowood.

Interesting facts…

England Golf research shows that in 2017, 67% of all young people took part in some form of golf activity. That’s about 5.35 million youngsters in England but to the backdrop of ‘traditional’ junior memberships in decline.

The ‘one size fits all’ approach to junior membership turns its back on the needs of younger players and their families. Not everyone wants to become the next Tiger Woods and what may be fun for a 6-year old won’t float-the-boat of a teenager.

You need to onboard the parent too. It takes a commitment from both parties. From the feedback we’ve received, the introduction of a comprehensive junior development programme for specific age groups has been successful.

Let’s not avoid the issue of fees. Quite frankly, younger players were priced out. The new Membership and Tuition Packages acknowledge the needs of young players and have been adjusted. Last year, as part of our Black Friday initiatives we gave our junior members and other young golfers locally free Academy Course Membership to help break that barrier to entry.

We appreciate we must compete with other sports and activities so pricing needs to be competitive and offer value for money.

Our Professionals

Our Pro golfers are PGA professionals with over 50 years’ experience. If you’ve played on our course before and experienced some coaching, you’ll know the skill level of our coaches and their ability to progress junior, beginner, intermediate and even “European Tour” players.

They do this through their in-depth knowledge of the game and coaching expertise.

Using our Trackman, TPI, Flightscope and Swing analysis services alongside custom fitting sessions and being down with the latest advances in equipment means our Pros can take your game to the next level.

Their love of golf is apparent and being on-hand and approachable, key to the experience we want to cultivate here at Bowood.

Junior Golf Director Gregg, inspires the little ones and works tirelessly to ensure coaching is fun, relaxed and informative whilst challenging in our Junior PGA Golf Academy.

Courses are specifically tailored to junior golfers of all ages. They run on week nights during term time then throughout the school holidays. Private tuition is also available to develop your child further.

Ben, our Director of Golf and one of Today’s Top 50 Golf Coaches in the UK is always on hand for inspiration, tips and the latest equipment recommendations. He’s learnt from the very best and has a great aptitude for bringing out the best in your game.

Sustainability & Eco-Friendly

Our Pro golfers are PGA professionals with over 50 years’ experience. If you’ve played on our course before and experienced some coaching, you’ll know the skill level of our coaches and their ability to progress junior, beginner, intermediate and even “European Tour” players.

They do this through their in-depth knowledge of the game and coaching expertise.

Using our Trackman, TPI, Flightscope and Swing analysis services alongside custom fitting sessions and being down with the latest advances in equipment means our Pros can take your game to the next level.

Their love of golf is apparent and being on-hand and approachable, key to the experience we want to cultivate here at Bowood.

Junior Golf Director Gregg, inspires the little ones and works tirelessly to ensure coaching is fun, relaxed and informative whilst challenging in our Junior PGA Golf Academy.

Courses are specifically tailored to junior golfers of all ages. They run on week nights during term time then throughout the school holidays. Private tuition is also available to develop your child further.

Ben, our Director of Golf and one of Today’s Top 50 Golf Coaches in the UK is always on hand for inspiration, tips and the latest equipment recommendations. He’s learnt from the very best and has a great aptitude for bringing out the best in your game.

Entering An Exciting Era

Attracting players to a course is one thing, maintaining them is another. There’s no room for those that ‘rest on their laurels’. As a result, golf is entering a transformational and exciting period.

Yes, a great course is paramount. Yes, the clubhouse needs to be welcoming, the Pros friendly, juniors thriving and fees value for money.

But golf must move forward. Open its arms, and get with the program.

We hope you will join us at Bowood for this new exciting era of golf.

Unlimited Summer Golf Day Pass

Our Unlimited Summer Golf Day Pass is just one step towards making golf more accessible, affordable and enjoyable for everyone.

Unlimited golf can be enjoyed by all as it’s valid on our 18 hole championship PGA Course and Academy Course and includes driving range balls, access to the Putting Green and handy 10% discount for our Pro Golf Shop.

Get some practice in before an upcoming tournament or better still, round up some friends for a golf social and have a few games for less Monday to Thursday. Don’t’ forget we have the Halfway House for on-course refreshments or for something a bit more substantial, our Clubhouse Brasserie so you can make the most of your day.

 

 

10 Things You Might Not Know about the PGA

Bowood are extremely pleased to have recently become an elite member of the PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association). As a branded property of the association, we are now a PGA Golf Course and PGA Academy.

The hard and accurate work of our dedicated team across all areas of the hotel, not just on the golf course, has led to our affiliation. And that goes hand-in-hand with the loyalty of our members and guests, whose attendance and feedback has all come together to help us achieve such a prestigious status.

Despite our excitement, we understand that not all our hotel guests and members will be familiar with the PGA.

So, to clear up any uncertainties and to share this new-found success with our loyal members and guests, we’re unveiling everything we think you ought to know about the PGA.

So, what does PGA qualified mean? And how do we expect it to enhance Bowood and what we offer?

Here are 10 things you might not know about the PGA:

#1 The PGA is recognised as a global professional golfing association

Being part of the PGA gives Bowood global recognition within professional golf. Our course is now seen to be on the same level as some of the best golf courses across the world.

To put it simply: We’ve become part of world class golfing elite.

We expect that those with a keen interest in golf will want to travel to Bowood to indulge in the superior golfing opportunities we offer. No matter where they live.

The fact that other PGA accredited golf courses are based in Kenya and Spain proves the sheer prestige of this accreditation, and its rarity in the UK.

Of course, we’ve been lucky enough to be making the most of our fantastic course for a number of years. It’s not changing drastically as a result of the affiliation- but it is becoming more recognised.

So when it comes to preferred professional golfing venues, we’re very much on the map.

#2 There is a difference between a PGA Golf Course and a PGA Academy

And we’ve gained status as both.

As we’ve mentioned above, being recognised as a PGA Golf Course makes us one of the top choices for golfing facilities in the UK and worldwide.

Bowood is now regarded as a superior golfing venue, considering the course itself, as well as the hotel’s brasserie, accommodation and spa.

As a PGA Academy, we’ve demonstrated that we can enhance golf skills in our players, through high-level coaching from trained professionals.

Our Pro golfers are PGA professionals with over 50 years’ experience. If you’ve played on our course before and experienced some coaching, you’ll know the skill level of our coaches and also their ability to progress beginner, intermediate and even “expert” players.

The PGA has recognised Bowood’s facilities to cater for golfers of all ages, genders and abilities, which means that we are proven to provide an excellent hub for learning new techniques and enhancing existing skills.

Who knows…perhaps we’ll be the home golf course of the next Tiger Woods? We’ve already developed a number of international level athletes, so training an elite-level sports person is not out of the question.

The bar is set high. And all of our guests, members and visitors to our hotel can benefit from our high-standard of coaching- that is sought-after on an international scale.

#3 Bowood is not the only PGA golf course in the UK

Golf enthusiasts will, no doubt, have heard about the legendary golf course The Belfry.

The Belfry is the UK’s PGA National Course. It is well-connected and easily accessible by Birmingham Airport and Birmingham city centre.

The course is famous for its 500-acres of superior Warwickshire countryside, as well as it’s high-quality accommodation and facilities in the hotel.

For Bowood to be part of the PGA and valued on a similar level to The Belfry is an absolute honour and an exciting prospect for our hotel’s future.

Note that The Belfry has a superior partnership status with the PGA, so we’re not quite on the same level as that.

# 4 There are just 8 PGA Golf Academies to date

We may not be a partner of the PGA, however, to get to grips with how superior our accreditation really is, it is helpful to know that Bowood is now one of eight (yes that’s right, just eight) PGA golf academies to date.

We are listed as one of the best places to develop golfing skills and learn from the professionals, along with the following locations:

  • PGA Golf Academy, Carus Green
  • Laguna Golf, Phuket
  • PGA Golf Academy, Bayhood No.9
  • PGA Golf Academy, Mission Hills
  • PGA Golf Academy, Formby Hall
  • PGA Golf Academy, Close House
  • PGA Golf Academy, University Limerick

Being classed alongside the magnificent locations above is just another of the reasons why the PGA association is so beneficial for our hotel.

#5 The PGA partners the Ryder Cup

The Ryder Cup is arguably one of the most famous awards in the sport. The PGA has been involved with the Ryder Cup since it began in 1927. And it still plays a part nowadays.

For those that are more familiar with Pro golf, the PGA is a partner in the European Ryder Cup LLP, as well as the European tour.

And if you’ve seen what the Ryder Cup looks like, donated to the sport by Sam Ryder himself, you’ll have noticed the 17-inch figure on the top. That figure is Abe Mitchell. One of the most famous members of the PGA and Sam Ryder’s personal coach.

#6 The PGA is affiliated with huge brands

Not only is the PGA supported by legends in golf like Abe Mitchell, it is also affiliated with massive brands.

Some of these brands are:

  • Coca Cola- soft drinks manufacturer.
  • Gleneagles- 2014 Ryder Cup venue and renowned golf resort.
  • FJ- footwear manufacturer.
  • The Belfry- hotel and golf resort. Home to PGA Headquarters.
  • Optical Express- Leading eye laser surgery provider.
  • Glenmuir 1891- club embroidery.
  • BMW- Title sponsor of the PGA Championships.
  • Prostate Cancer UK- official charity of the PGA.

Just by looking at the size and calibre of these brands, it is clear to see what a big deal it is being part of the PGA.

We hope to expand and improve our facilities at Bowood, in response to this excellent accreditation.

#7 PGA professionals are highly trained, often to degree level

In order to become a PGA affiliated professional, it takes time and hard work. Our Pros have undergone extensive training to get where they are today.

Many of the PGA Pros are educated to degree level. They are trained with the most recent expertise and skills in the sport, to ensure they provide the best and most relevant standard of golf to date.

A professional qualification with the PGA involves:

  • Full or part-time higher education
  • First aid certificate
  • Work experience in a golf environment
  • ASQ Level 1 and 2 certificates in golf coaching
  • Experience in playing professional golf events
  • Child protection certificate.

#8 The PGA runs over 700 annual tournaments

And here at Bowood we’ll be hosting the final of the PGA Championship in July 2019.

We couldn’t be more excited.

The Championship invites various golf societies to play on our hotel grounds and the course will provide a testing ground for 144 talented players.

We’re looking forward to watching and receiving feedback on their experience on the course.

Our Head GreenKeeper and his team are already working hard to ensure the course is at optimum condition in preparation for the Championship event.

If you’d like to play on this iconic course as a member, then why not join us as a member here at Bowood?

#9 The PGA works closely with golf bodies

The PGA works with golf bodies such as the UK Golf Course Owners Association and the Home Unions and Golf Club Managers’ Association, as well as various golf club committees.

This means that the credibility of the association is extremely high. If you’re looking to start your golfing career (and by that we mean amateur players too), then by choosing a PGA accredited venue like Bowood, you can be confident you’re learning in the most reliable way.

#10 #WeLoveGolf and the WPGA represent women in golf

Golf is not just a sport for men. The campaign #WeLoveGolf is the PGA’s modern campaign to get more women playing golf.

The WPGA is the section of the PGA dedicated to women. Set up by the epic female golfer Vivien Saunders in 1978, she gifted the name WPGA into the safe hands of the PGA in 1998.

So while the association is run overall by men, there is a continued effort to get more women involved in golf.

Women who join the PGA automatically become members of the WPGA.

We welcome female members here at Bowood.

Bowood and the PGA

Bowood’s new status with the PGA gives our hotel spa and golf resort global recognition on the professional golfing scene. We want to share the prestige of the PGA with our guests, members and anybody thinking about coming to stay with us.

We’re looking forward to welcoming more local golfers, as well as making continued developments to our world-class golf course.

Join us today for what is set to be one of our most exciting years in golf to date.