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Growing a Go club

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2006-06-27 22:19
VeniVidiCogitavi Alright! A Go forum. Now I can spend even more time on Go!

Anyway, I hoped to take this chance to get any ideas from people on how to make a Go club grow.

As background, I live in Houston, Texas. Houston is the 4th largest city in the US (>5 million). We also have the 4th-largest Asian population in the US, and other aspects of Asian culture are quite active. There seems to be no reason why a Go club here shouldn't be thriving.

And yet, our local chapter of the AGA is basically stagnant. Officially, there are 25 members. But, really, if you omit the long-time organizers of the club, and the really young kids (<9 yrs) who are really just playing around, you're only left with about 5 real members. This number includes me and my son, who would play - club or no club.

So I'd like to ask for the thoughts of people who have experience in this area. What are the factors that get people involved and keep them coming back regularly? Any ideas for activities or programs that keep members motivated?

2006-06-28 17:45
preuss I don't think the problem is a lack of go players in that area. The problem is likely a cultural divide. Asians are probably going to play with other asians and not bother to go to a non-asian club. Besides pros who view themselves as go missionarys trying to spread go outside of the far east I think the tendancy is to stick with folks who we are familiar with. I think that actually may be the greatest challenge in the US for go, how to connect to all of the hidden go players we know must be out there.

2006-08-18 23:45
tommyjliu I suggest that you talk to the local university. I am currently a student at Stanford and we are trying pretty hard to start a go club here. Luckily, we have a 5d amateur who has a lot of initiative and has started a class and, with the help of another student, a go club. We don't really know the path we are going but students have a lot of drive, and sometimes, free time. Alternatively, if you can somehow get the AGA chapter to help local universities start up clubs, I'm sure you can get a lot going. I know that we could definitely use some sort of recognized body to help us get our club going along.

2006-10-02 03:46
mark Our Go club really took off when we moved from a small low-traffic coffee house to the Barnes and Noble bookstore. We meet every Wed night from 6-10 PM in the cafe, and every week we have newcomers interested in learning to play. I believe the most important thing for a Go club is visibility. If the general public can't see you every week, your club will never grow.

2007-10-28 00:42
thomas.pourcelot A simple question : Does your club have a webpage explaining when and where to meet ? Cause it's how I find clubs when I move in a new town - if there is one, and I guess many people do so too.

2008-11-21 00:45
burrito The Houston go club seems to be fairly strong now, or at least that's the impression I get from the website and from the number of tournaments going on there. If you ever make it back to the forums, I'm sure everyone would love to know what has happened in the last couple years.

2009-06-08 20:12
pete81 Hello everyone. Bob's situation is pretty much what I found when I started playing out here in Katy, Texas, a Houston suburb. I knew there had to be a large population of players, but where? Through the main Houston club I was able to meet some nice folks and we've re-established the old Katy Go Club. We have about 15 - 20 members ranging form 6 dan to beginner, and play regularly. I found that establishing a website ( katygoclub.org ) helped get the word out. We have a summer tournament scheduled.

Lessons learned - email lists and websites are great, and word of mouth is very helpful. Activities like tournaments help drive interest, as does playing games in a public forum (coffee shop or public library). If you're out in public, it is amazing how many folks ask about the game. It's even interesting to hear other people, not in your club, whisper to them knowingly, "They're playing Go..."

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