Golf Club Profile: Kirkby Lonsdale
The Cumbria club has seen a surge in membership over the past year – and many of them are younger golfers and women.
Kirkby Lonsdale Golf Club in Cumbria has seen its membership drop from around 350 to around 450 in the past 12 months.
Visitor numbers also increased significantly to a record high.
The picturesque club, nestled in the charming Moon Valley between Kirkby Lonsdale and Barbon, is enjoying a boom in interest in golf nationwide and a series of its own initiatives.
There has been a surge in female membership, spurred initially by three six-week Get Into Golf beginner courses led by PGA Professional Trainee Ellie Broome. The club then set up weekly coaching sessions for the ladies.
Ellie has also increased the number of junior members by hosting weekly sessions for youngsters of different ages and abilities and by running junior training camps during school holidays.
The club successfully approached England Golf to run their Girls Golf Rocks course, which encourages beginner girls aged 5-18 to learn and play golf in a fun and friendly way. Two six-week Girls Golf Rocks courses have been held and since then many of the girls who attended have joined junior groups at the club.
“With the new ladies and juniors, we aim to create a path to membership,” explained the club’s chief PGA professional, John Twissell. “It’s not just about lecturing them; it’s about taking them on the course and showing them what it has to offer.
The number of members under the age of 30 has also increased significantly.
Club captain Graham Bywater explained that the growing popularity of golf and the increase in members and visitors meant the club could afford to make a number of improvements to the course and facilities.
For example, renovations were underway to the men’s restrooms, showers and locker rooms and there were plans to make improvements to the bar and restaurant inside the clubhouse and to expand the patio and terrace. .
“The bunkers are being renovated, we have hired additional green maintenance staff and upgraded green maintenance machinery,” he said.
Other initiatives include offering businesses membership, which also gives them the opportunity to sponsor a tee. And in April, the club held a “bring a buddy day,” where members could bring three people as guests to introduce them to the club.
Bywater explained the appeal of the club: “It is a long, interesting and quality course, which gives a good test of golf to players of all abilities.”
And vice-captain John Sherlock added: “The club is friendly and inviting and the scenery is fantastic.
Kirkby Lonsdale Golf Club was established in 1906 and has stood on its current site since 1991. The 18-hole course measures 6,594 meters and is laid out over 160 acres of spectacular countryside. The layout offers two round-trip nine-hole loops to the clubhouse.
Each of the holes has its own unique character and has four tee options, offering varying degrees of difficulty. The River Lune and Barbon Beck run through the course, which offers views of Barbon Fell and the Howgills.
Other facilities include a swing hall with launch monitor; a chipping area for the short game; a professional shop selling equipment and clothing; and ten practice bays.
The course is a haven for wildlife including deer, rabbits, hares, stoats and weasels. There is a heronry and swans and ducks nesting on the lake. A number of birdhouses were installed which attracted a wide variety of birds to the course.