Sevens Golf proving a huge success

Sevens Golf
by Andrea Petrie
Struggling to fit in 18 holes of competition golf each week, or hate missing out when other commitments arise on your regular playing days? Maybe you’re a club official searching for new and inventive ways to counteract the slide in golf participation? 
Whatever the reason, a new competition being introduced at clubs across the country is definitely worth considering.
Known as Sevens Golf, the social nine-hole competition provides a flexible, seven-day schedule for players of all ages and levels of golfing experience that can be played individually or in teams of seven.
For individual competitors, a Stableford competition is run over seven days and allows players to enter as many times each week as they wish, with a maximum score per hole of double par.
Players can use nine holes of their 18-hole game as their Sevens score with handicaps calculated using the rolling sample method as used by Golf Australia with a 72 limit.
The team event is also run weekly as part of a 20-week premiership season, with new seasons beginning all the time. Teams have seven days to register a score and team members do not have to all play at the same time — or even on the same day. They can play with other club members or Sevens players to mark their score.
More than 20 golf clubs across the country have already embraced the idea, including the Corowa Golf Club on the New South Wales border, which ran a comp during the October to March daylight savings period.
In a report to the club’s committee about the initiative, head professional Rob Rowe said one of the best things about Sevens was that no financial expenditure was required to get it up and running.
“We had absolutely nothing to lose by running the program and everything to gain,” Rowe said.
Sevens provided the club with the opportunity to “optimise and use our facility through attracting new participants and providing flexible playing options for our time-poor members.”
Participants could play nine holes after work or school, and weren’t locked in to playing a particular day/s of the week, such as a Saturday morning comp.
At Corowa, social golfers account for 63 per cent of of the club’s business, with considerable marketing geared towards attracting visitors to the town to play golf and stay at nearby motels. They also have plenty of locals who, although are not members of the club, play socially, which also helps increase their annual revenue.
Rowe said almost 120 people registered for the Sevens competition when it was introduced, 34 of whom were new to the club. Membership cost $50, which allowed participants to play as many rounds as they wanted during the competition period, paying a $4 competition fee and a $1 levy.
Almost 1600 Sevens rounds were played during the season, requiring the club to run two divisions. It was hailed a huge success. Many participants also finished up their round with a drink at the bar or a meal at the clubhouse restaurant, resulting in additional business that otherwise would not have come in.
* More information about Sevens Golf — including which clubs are already onboard — is available at www.sevensgolf.com.au

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