London, England: An independent study has revealed the importance of family to growing the game of golf.
The comprehensive research, carried out by Sports Marketing Surveys Inc for the Golf Foundation, involved quantitative surveys during which parents and guardians, junior golfers, club officials and coaches were surveyed across England and Wales.
The results highlighted the fact that 99 per cent of parents see golf as providing a very safe environment for their children, and that 95 per cent also believe the sport can teach their children valuable life skills.
Perhaps most revealing, however, was the confirmation that the vast majority of junior golfers (71 per cent) would like to play more golf with their parents.
“The results of the survey prove that golf can have a hugely positive impact on a child’s upbringing,” said Brendon Pyle, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation.
“We know that we can provide safe environments for children of all ages but it was particularly pleasing to see that younger children also have a real appetite to play the sport with their parents.
“Golf is perhaps the only sport where multiple generations of the same family can play together over decades and even compete. The fact that 71 per cent of children surveyed expressed a real interest in playing with their parents proves that if clubs can provide an environment in which all ages feel welcome and comfortable, the sport will grow.”
A key catchment for attracting youngsters to the game of golf is between six and 12 years of age, during which 67 per cent of the United Kingdom’s participating junior golfers first take up the game.
Juniors questioned confirmed that factors including availability of junior courses and academies, tolerant members, the ability to bring friends along for free and topically, more varied team formats, are the primary factors in retaining junior members.
The powers that be, including the European Tour, have acknowledged the need for alternative forms of the game and this has culminated in the creation of professional events such as GolfSixes. The Golf Foundation is also testing this format in 32 golf clubs this summer, with European Tour support.
As part of the wider Get into Golf campaign, family will be a big driver over the coming months.
The Golf Foundation is supporting England Golf’s official Family Golf Month; a national campaign targeting family participation through digital advertising and social media during July.
Moreover, the Foundation has made a commitment to distribute HSBC Golf Roots Family Kit Bags to over 300 United Kingdom golf clubs to enable them to offer free taster sessions to families. The bags will include child-friendly fun-oriented golf equipment, adaptable tee markers and ideas on playing formats for all generations of families to play together.
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