New research outlines potential to grow women’s, girls’ and family golf

Written by Golf Canada

St Andrews, Scotland- A significant growth opportunity exists for golf if it can attract more women, girls and families into playing the sport more often according to a new research report published by The R&A.

Many countries are seeing a fall in the number of both males and females playing golf and the research report analyses the factors which affect whole family participation in the sport, including women and girls, and details a number of useful practical recommendations for national golf bodies and golf clubs to help them encourage more women and girls to play.

The R&A commissioned the International Institute for Golf Education to carry out the research, which brings together the findings of existing academic and industry research with the individual views of a wide-ranging group of golf experts.

The key themes identified in the report, which was produced by Dr. John Fry and Philip Hall, include:

  • The importance of establishing the optimum environment for family participation by being aware of the make-up of the modern family
  • A direct link between equality in sports participation and wider measures of gender equality such as women in influential decision-making positions in golf
  • That parents are the chief factor underpinning families’ likelihood to play golf and that their motivations for their children taking part include having fun, improving health and developing friendships
  • The increasing desire for golf to provide opportunities for socialising and to be adaptable and flexible given the time and cost constraints placed on the modern family
  • The need for the sport to evolve to meet the demands of contemporary society and for clubs to encourage memorable events for their customers, as that memory itself or the ‘experience’, is increasingly replacing the ‘product’ of playing golf

The research reflects The R&A’s continued drive to encourage more women, girls and families to play golf more regularly, working with its affiliates around the world to enhance golf’s appeal.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “The research demonstrates there is a tremendous opportunity for golf to grow its participation numbers and generate more income if it can attract more women, girls and families into playing the sport.

“We know that more work needs to be done to achieve this outcome at a time when there are concerns about declining participation levels and this report provides useful actions and guidance for our affiliates and clubs that can lead to tangible, positive outcomes for golf.”

Dr John Fry, added, “The report brings together for the first time in one place the key academic and industry research articles conducted on family sports participation.

“The process involved searching scientific databases containing more than one million citations, peer-reviewed research papers and selecting the most appropriate evidence based studies that can help underpin strategies to increase participation in golf.

“The research is supplemented with case studies of best practice, analysis from a number of industry experts and offers a series of practical actions which golf clubs can adopt.”

The full report on ‘Women’s, Girls’ and Family Participation in Golf: An Overview of Existing Research (2018)’ can be viewed here. Click here for the R&A research summary

A video interview with Dr John Fry of the International Institute for Golf Education can be viewed below.

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