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England Golf and Mytime Active join to increase diversity in golf

By Steph Eaves    07 Nov 2016

England Golf and Mytime Active – one of the UK’s largest pay and play golf course operators – are working in partnership to attract more players from diverse backgrounds.

The two-year project began in July 2015, when a jointly-funded community development officer was recruited to support and lead the project within Birmingham. The project gives participants the opportunity to take part in a Get Active in Golf six week course, with follow-on opportunities made available upon completion.

Claire Hodgson, head of participation at England Golf, said: “The focus of the community development officer role is to develop relationships with key partners and stakeholders in the local community and to identify and overcome barriers to participation to ensure golf is appealing and inclusive to all.”

According to a Sport England Active People Survey (Q2 2015/16), 46,100 people (aged 16+) from black and minority ethnic groups (6 per cent) are currently playing golf on a regular basis, compared to 36.7 per cent who are engaging across all sports.

“Golf is the fifth largest participation sport in England with 738,200 regular golfers,” said Hodgson. “This figure has steadily declined since 2005, however the number of both black and minority ethnic and white British adults playing sport is increasing, so understanding the wants and needs of current and potential golfers is essential.”

Mytime Active’s community development officer, Rebecca McWhinnie, cited time, cost and image as three of the most prevalent barriers to getting involved in golf and said these are being addressed through national campaigns such as Get Into Golf and Golf Express.

“Different promotional channels have been explored in this project including radio, which has allowed the opportunity to engage with a large number of local people through community radio stations targeted towards ethnic minority communities – for example, Afro-Caribbean and Muslim radio stations. On-air announcements were made during drive-time therefore reaching those with access to their own transport, which instantly removes a potential barrier.”

The project has been promoted to a number of local partners, including Unity FM and North Smethwick Resource Centre.

“Engagement with community groups has not only provided a potential customer base, but has also helped to explore what further golfing opportunities are needed after the initial Get Active in Golf course, to ensure a sustainable pathway,” said McWhinnie.

The project has so far been successful, with 102 participants taking part and courses still underway. A number of case studies have been completed in order to gain a greater understanding of participants’ motivations, barriers and perceptions to golf. The learning from the project will be made available to all golf clubs to support the drive to attract under-represented groups to golf.

golf  england golf  mytime active  Claire Hodgson  Rebecca McWhinnie 
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