We are all golfers
You might have already caught sight of the discoveries from the PGA’s recent research, ‘Golf For All,’ some of which really surprised me, but also made me realise that I’m a modern golfer!
The aim of this research was to challenge perceptions of the game and explore how people engage with golf. One significant finding is that out of the 22.4 million adults in GB&I who engage with golf, only 4.9 million actually play on a golf course.
Out of this total number, 16.3 million participate in various forms, including at driving ranges, pitch & putt, adventure golf, and simulator venues. That’s a pretty significant figure. What stands out about this statistic is that, when excluding full/short course golf, ‘a golfer’ is almost equally likely to be female as male (47% vs 53%) and this shows that the industry has a great opportunity to engage wider audiences across different forms of golf, particularly women.
I’m one of the 4.9 million who play on a golf course, but since leaving West Essex Golf Club, I would also put myself into the 30% category of golfers who believe that becoming a member of a golf club would make them feel like a true golfer. Now, that might sound ridiculous, but I’ve played golf for years, and through my golfing friends I’m still very much involved with golf club life, as well as being a West Essex member through the PlayMoreGolf scheme, but it’s not quite the same.
My latest Golf Monthly column focuses on this subject and I believe I feel this way because my journey into golf was a traditional one – I learned the basics, joined a club, submitted scorecards, earned a handicap, entered weekly competitions, and became fully integrated into the ladies’ section, although I never took on the role of Lady Captain! Subconsciously I worry that others might see me as less committed to the game, not taking it seriously anymore because I’m no longer fully embroiled in the golf club scene.
But, none of this should really matter these days. There’s room for golfers of all kinds and we should encourage them to identify themselves as such. It might be a challenge for traditionalists to see someone who often plays pitch & putt as a ‘real’ golfer, but there are good reasons to embrace them.
We know there are a lot of women out there who participate in different forms of golf. They might want to stick with that, which is fine, but at least the spectrum has broadened to potentially attract them to a traditional golfing path, which I can also highly recommend!
Whichever form of golf you choose to play, enjoy!