Bushell Underlines Social and Health Benefits of Golf

John Bushell.

London, England: The health benefits of golf provide a new rationale to attract players to the sport and grow the golf industry.

That’s the view of John Bushell, Managing Director, Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS), a Full Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.

Speaking at a golf industry luncheon, Bushell delivered a message laced with optimism for the sport.

He said: “For all those of us who love golf and depend on it as an industry, it is wonderful to be able to report on lots of good news.

“Despite the pandemic, the sport has had success attracting new players with the promise of fresh air, exercise, and social and competitive opportunities.

“Our work for The R&A on the social and health benefits of the sport have clinical evidence of benefits from living longer, to better balance, and golfers feeling healthier than non-golfers.

“This health angle gives us a new rationale to attract players to the sport and grow the golf industry.”

Bushell said Sports Marketing Surveys’ recent work measuring participation included the first international study covering Africa, Asia-Pacific, Canada and Latin America, as well as R&A affiliates outside of Europe.

“We estimate with these regions and also Europe, USA, Mexico that there are now 64 million golfers globally.

“On both sides of the Atlantic and around the world, there is more work to do, not least to keep these players in the sport. But demand for golf – on and off-course – and increasing diversity in the game is great news.”

In regard to demand for golf, Bushell cited rounds played figures for Great Britain in 2020 which, he said, ‘showed an incredible appetite for playing golf after the first lockdown ended’.

He added: “The figures for the third quarter 2020 were a record. Even in the fourth quarter, despite the November lockdown, rounds played were up by 41%. The end result was that 2020 concluded with an annual increase of 12% in rounds played across the country despite losing almost three months.

“That’s good news however you look at it. But one thing we wanted to find out was whether this was being driven by existing golfers playing more often or by new and returning players.

“So, it was great to be able to announce, together with The R&A, that our latest wave of annual participation research identified 2.3 million more golfers in Great Britain and Ireland playing on full length golf courses.”

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AGIF is a not for profit industry federation with members and partners involved in all facets of the golf industry throughout Asia to assist them to take the next step in development toward a sustainable industry.


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