Golf – “Early Birdies” A simple regular outreach activity
Justyn Jackson – Chichester Baptist Church
The Aim: Our church is very much into organising regular events which we call “alternative gatherings”. These range from sports events, country walks, craft, old peoples homes and mountain biking. All are an attempt to engage with people who either cannot or prefer not to go to church.
The Brief: I needed a golf format that was not too long, not too expensive and preferably where we could start and finish at the same time.
A Solution: Shotgun start the back nine holes early on a Sunday morning. This means that all groups start on a different hole at the same predetermined time and therefore all finish at about the same time. Last week for example we had 12 players which I divided into 4 groups of 3. We met at 6.45 am and one group walked to hole 10, one to hole 18, one to hole 16 and one to hole 15. At 7 am each group teed off. Traditionally a shotgun (hence the term shotgun start) or a hooter would sound to announce the start, but we don’t have a gun licence and it’s a bit early on a Sunday morning for loud noises! Once a group that started on the 15th, 16th or 18th hole finishes the 18th, they simply walk to the 10th hole and continue until all of the holes 10 -18 have been completed.
Club Benefit: I approached my golf club with the idea and they realised that it was a win win situation. Empty course or people playing and paying? They charge us £15 for 9 holes, but suggest you negotiate what is appropriate for each course. We tee off at 7am and are usually all done by 9.30am, this means that those who want to go on to church may do so.
Winners: We produce an order of merit table showing the ongoing scores and present a monthly trophy for the winner.
Attendees: Over 40 people have expressed a strong interest and we regularly attract about 10-12 players.
Message: We give a short thought for the day at the end at the prize giving. Everyone knows it is a Church run activity and it is a great way to meet new people on their turf whilst having fun.
Summary: We think the format works well, despite being early, and could be one that others could take to their local clubs.
Contact: For more information contact Justyn Jackson – Chichester Baptist Church Email: firstname.lastname@example.org