Par Not Needed says Glendale Golf, as FunCourses open

Do you really need to show the Par of a golf hole, on a scorecard?


Glendale Golf, which operates seven golf centres in the UK, doesn’t think so – at least, not where family- friendly golf is concerned.


But the innovation doesn’t stop there: bigger holes, double tees and Family Parks have all been introduced at several of its venues, as Glendale Golf focuses ever-harder on attracting beginners and families with children to its golf centres.


All of its three Par 3 golf courses, at Duxbury Park GC in Chorley, Tilgate Forest GC in Crawley, and Edwalton GC in Nottingham, have been re-named The Fun Course, and have dropped Par numbers from their scorecards.


Each hole now has two tees, and two holes cut on each green. Forward tees play to FootGolf-sized holes for the easiest-possible golf experience. The tees further back play to special 8-inch holes on the green – almost twice the size of the sport’s standard 4¼ inch holes.


Easy-to-use SNAG Golf equipment for everyone from small children to adults is also available for free hire on the Fun Courses at Tilgate Forest and Edwalton.


Lancashire venue Duxbury Park Golf Centre has gone a step further, and has also created a Golf & Games Family Park which mixes golf with other fun ways for a family to spend their time.


As well as a four-hole Pitch & Putt course with giant holes and SNAG Golf targets, the Fun Park also contains giant-scale versions of familiar games such as Snakes & Ladders and Connect 4, plus a large sandpit complete with pirate ship. Entry is free.


There’s even a Family Orienteering Course in Duxbury’s Fun Park, designed with assistance from British Orienteering, which charges a nominal entry fee – which includes a drink. The experience lasts roughly thirty minutes, and is set safely away from the golf in a separate walled garden area.


Tilgate Forest also has an added extra, but again it is another new approach. Part of its driving range has been converted into a Family Fun Zone, with brand-new colourful targets and a special points-scoring system which drives a variety of fun family participation games. Food and drinks are served directly to you in the bays, which are super-sized to enable safe dining while people are playing their golf games.


And instead of paying for a bucket of balls, Tilgate Forest’s Family Fun Zone charges for the time you spend in the bay, with unlimited balls during that time.


The Family Fun Zone at Tilgate Forest Golf Centre has been part-funded by England Golf. Head of Club Support Abbie Lench said: “Our strategy at England Golf is to put the customer at the heart of everything we do and it’s so encouraging to work with Glendale Golf, who really listen to their customers in order to provide them with what they want – which is fun for all the family.  July is England Golf’s Family Golf Month and the Family Fun Zone is a great example of golf as a game which all the generations can enjoy together. We’re looking forward to sharing what we learn with other clubs that want to be family-friendly.”


Glendale Golf’s Managing Director Tom Brooke describes why these changes have been made. “We took a step back and looked hard at how families with children, as well others new to golf, were interacting with our centres, and realised that we needed to take further steps to encourage more participation and interaction with local communities.


“For example, Par 3 courses are often aimed at beginners, but we asked ourselves – what does ‘par’ really mean? Is playing a 150-yard hole with a tiny cup to aim for on the green realistically achievable in three shots for a beginner? Not really. We’re making the sport easier, and emphasising enjoyment, so the name change to Fun Course from Par 3 Course seemed natural.


“We believe that simply running a few beginner golf lessons and relaxing dress codes won’t do enough to bring more people into the nation’s golf centres. Golf needs to be made far easier for children and beginners. It also needs much more of a fun element if we really are to break down the barriers to entry. We’re looking forward to continuing our work with England Golf on this.”


He continued: “Dropping par, providing SNAG Golf equipment, implementing more non-golf activities, re-naming certain parts of our golf centres, and charging for time rather than balls used on the range – these and other original ideas came out of a series of discussions with staff at our centres. And then we all worked very hard to get everything in place for the summer holidays! We are all excited to see how the new innovations will be received by our customers. The early signs are good and we had fantastic attendance at our recent launch events. Over 300 people attended the launch of the Golf and Games Family Park at Duxbury for example, which is a source of great pride for the team there.”


However, Brooke also has a point to make about the more familiar side of the sport: “Golfers who play the traditional 18-hole game are still well catered for of course, at every one of our seven golf centres” he said. “Clearly we feel it is key to involve newcomers and families in golf, but we also continue to focus our energies on providing the highest-quality golf experiences for the traditional golfer.”


More details can be found at

Lindrick Junior wins U16 Title

Lindrick Junior wins U16 Title

Lindrick’s Callum Macfie lifted the U16 North of England title with a 9 under par total of 279 in the championship held at Pannal GC.

After a first round 71, a 68 followed a 69 to put him into a five shot lead going into the last round where a 71 was enough to clinch the title by one shot despite a tournament best of 67 from second placed Matthew Jackman (Southport & Ainsdale) pushing Callum all the way to the line.

A very pleased Callum said “I’m delighted to have finished my last U16 event with a win. It’s been a tough year with both injury and exams however, I’ve been working really hard on my game for the last 3 to 4 weeks so I’m pleased it all came together for this event. I was fourth last year and really wanted to win it this time”.


County Golfer Award Winners

Reading through this years (2016) course reports in County Golfer I realised how much the team love playing golf and view golf as an enjoyable game to play with good friends.

Some may feel that their light-hearted, life as it really is, view is not quite up to ‘Masters’ standard of golf but then they don’t play as good as that either. Thinking along those lines I wondered how many in our two counties do play to that standard, and if they do why are they not in the Ryder Cup Team?  We must try harder to get to scratch. However, over the past year we have been invited to play and write about golf as a game played for enjoyment. The welcome and hospitality we have received has overwhelmed us. Our reports on some of the countries top 100 courses – St Andrews, Machrihanish, Royal St Georges, Saunton (East) has led to more invites for 2017. We have even played courses that don’t ask you to wear a tie! Some will let you buy a drink in the bar without wearing a trilby or smoking a pipe! Others let you walk on the grass with no levitation required. Some now allow ladies in the clubhouse! Where will it all end? Golf is such a rich set of tapestries. Rules are made, some are broken, rules are changed,  some we will never understand. I was once asked to move a yard to the right because I wasn’t allowed to buy a drink in the spot I was standing in, because that was for members only. The barman explained “It’s more than my jobs worth to serve you there” at which point we both moved a yard and he served me!  Oh boy. I feel clubs need rules otherwise it will result in mayhem. But there are less rules at St Andrews than there are at some of our counties courses. I’m glad to say that many clubs have relaxed a little whilst still retaining the dignity that playing golf deserves.

So with no inhibitions, consultations, phone in, email, facebook or public/private surveys, here is a completely biased view by the County Golfer team of Lefty, Newby, Fame, Yorkshire Terrier, Spence and Badger of the courses we have played in 2016. You may argue if you wish but these are our rules. If you disagree please explain why in full on the back of a postage stamp!

We’ve had a great years golf and our hearty thanks goes to all the clubs that have made our visits a real treat.