cameron2Every sport experiences periods of popularity as well as decline. The game of golf has gone through both over the past 50 years. It started off as a mostly 'rich man's game', where you had to be a member of an exclusive club to be able to play the game.

Players like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Tiger Woods have revolutionized the game of golf, and television has put the sport of golf in the hearts of millions of people.

There are many different factors that influence the demand for golf. Demographics, accessibility to local courses, personal time constraints, economic conditions, and the cost of playing all factor into the demand for golf.

To attract new players, courses first need to develop programs that are designed to help teach people how to play the game. Golf in itself is not an easy game to master and players can become easily frustrated during a round. As with any sport, in order to improve you need to understand how to play and practise regularly in order to improve your performance.

Golf courses also need to review green fee rates. When demand for tee times is low, green fees need to be adjusted. Weekend tee times are always in high demand. There are however times during the day when many courses are very quiet. To attract players to these times, special rates should be offered. Afternoon and evening rates are a great way to bring out both existing and new players.

To encourage repeat play, courses can offer five, ten, and even fifteen round packages that help not only reduce your cost per round, but also get players out on a more regular basis. Courses that run weekly golf leagues also help increase play during the week.

This season at the Meaford Golf Club a number of new initiatives and programs are being offered.

Golfers, in addition to playing either a 9 or 18 hole round, can play 4 or 6 holes at a time. This option is perfect for time-sensitive golfers and seniors. New golfers and non-members are also encouraged to join the many different leagues that play every week.

This year there will be a series of instructional programs offered to beginners. Group clinics will be offered on Saturday afternoons in May. Rates will include golf clubs, practise balls, one hour of instruction, and lesson summaries for all participants. In May and June, there will be two 6-week beginner programs offered. Each session will include three 90-minute instruction clinics followed by three weeks of golf with on-course coaching and instruction. Both programs are very reasonably priced at $100 plus GST for each 6-week session.

There are also programs for women golfers and juniors. Instructional clinics will be offered for women on both Tuesday and Saturday mornings from 10-11 am. These clinics are for both beginner and intermediate players and will cover all aspects of the game. Junior clinics will also be offered in May and June on Saturday mornings from 11 am to 12 noon.

For information on rates, packages and weekly topics visit their website at or call the Meaford Golf Club at 519-538-1400. To register for instructional clinics or programs contact Cameron at 705-441-0865 .

Cameron Burechails is the Head Golf Professional at the Meaford Golf Club.