Golf at the Heart of Sport in England
Page last updated at 12:15 am, Friday, December 15th, 2006
England Golf has welcomed the findings of Sport England’s Active People survey which has confirmed that golf is the second most popular ball sport in England.
According to the survey’s results, almost a million and a half (1,457,347) people play golf each month, making it the seventh most popular sport and recreational activity in the country behind recreational walking, swimming, going to the gym, recreational cycling, football and running/jogging. This equates to 3.6% of the adult population of England playing golf at least once a month.
The sport is particularly well-placed to assist the government in achieving its goal of increasing public participation in sport because of its appeal across the community. Golf can do this primarily because it can be played by people of all ages and both genders.
Despite having just under 900,000 club members, golf also has room for growth. With a well developed and accessible network of places where people can learn and play the sport (over 400 ranges and 2,000 clubs in England alone), access to facilities is not as significant an issue for the sport as it is for others.
Golf also lends itself to both recreational and competitive sport and, perhaps most importantly in the context of the findings of the Active People survey, golf can attract and retain participants who might ordinarily retire when they stop playing other sports such as football, rugby union or netball. Ultimately, golf provides opportunities for all players to realise their potential.
Each of the partners of England Golf, the English Golf Union, the English Ladies Golf Association and the PGA plays a role in the delivery of golf development at every level in England, from junior and beginners’ coaching sessions, co-ordinated by the EGU/ELGA development teams and delivered by PGA professionals, through to the national elite amateur squads, managed by the EGU and ELGA and coached by the PGA’s members. The Golf Foundation supports all of this activity with its range of community and schools-focused initiatives.
Bill Bryce, chairman of England Golf said, “Naturally, we are delighted that Sport England’s Active People survey has confirmed what we in golf have believed for some time. The findings demonstrate that golf is a major contributor to the health of the nation and we are certain that it is also one that offers even greater leisure opportunities in the future for people in all walks of life.
“We will not be resting on our laurels, however. England Golf is charged with delivering the Whole Sport Plan for Golf which is funded by Sport England and designed to pursue a six point agenda in order to grow the game.
“This agenda aims to ensure that there are more people playing golf; more clubs achieving the GolfMark standard; more players joining clubs; that the sport attracts and develops more and better coaches; that the sport provides more support for volunteers; and that we deliver more opportunities for players to realise their potential.
“We are pleased that the Active People survey has underlined the central role that golf has to play in helping to increase active participation in sport in England and, with increased investment from government and other sources including the commercial world, we are confident that golf can significantly assist the government as it seeks to improve the health of the nation. This can only be of benefit to the health of golf, and its clubs in particular, because having more players playing makes the sport more sustainable, accessible and affordable for everyone who wants to participate. Quite simply, we are about growing the game for everyone”.
English Golf Union www.englishgolfunion.org