R&A’s Slumbers Strikes Optimistic Note

R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers. Picture by Oisin Keniry/R&A via Getty Images.

St Andrews, Scotland: The provision of short courses and accessible and affordable public facilities are critical for the continued growth of golf, according to Martin Slumbers, The R&A Chief Executive.

Speaking at St Andrews during the 150th edition of The Open Championship, Slumbers said he believes golf will continue to thrive in the post-Covid era and outlined three main areas in growing the game.

He said: “Golf is in a really good place at the moment. We have benefited from the pandemic, in the very terrible couple of years the world has had.

“Golf is in a really good place. And I’m passionate about making sure that we capitalise on that really good space, keep driving it. There’s massive opportunities, particularly in India and China, for very large-scale growth in our sport.

“The best thing about Covid being over for me is I can get back on the road and spend more time in Asia, and spend more time with the people who are driving this game in various countries.

“And we will do everything we can to ensure that we’re able to support both intellectually, with coaching and with money, all the countries around the world that are affiliated to The R&A.”

Asked specifically about the prospects for golf, he said: “Where do I think the growth of the game is? I think the growth of the game is driven by three things.

“One is perception, and primarily a perception that this is a game for the people and it’s a game that is good for your mental health and your physical health.

“Two is it’s about getting families to play golf. Many of you have watched over the last seven years what I’ve been driving from The R&A. If you look at it and put it all together into a puzzle, it’s about families. It’s about mothers, fathers, children, grandchildren all playing golf together. That’s the future.

“And thirdly, it’s about short-course facilities, public facilities, open to the public, relatively low cost, and introduce people to the game. Because all the research that we do shows that our problem is getting people to try out our sport often because of perception and often because of cost.

“But once they try it out, the hit rate on them staying with the game is huge. Our problem is getting them through the door. And that’s the problem for golf.”

*Report by Spencer Robinson, Chief Communications Officer, Asian Golf Industry Federation

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