A 2015 European Tour report has shown golf participation is flourishing in the UK, especially among the younger generation. The Tour's "Golf Active Study" revealed 11m people in the UK are actively engaged in the sport, 1.7m of which are junior golfers.
According to the European Tour, recent golf participation numbers portraying the sport in decline have not reflected the changing face of the game itself. The oft-quoted figure of 3.5m adult "golfers" only takes into account those playing on full-length courses, says the Tour.
Golf - a game in decline or changing for the better?
The body believes the emergence of several shorter formats of the sport are still actively engaging people to take part in golf, many of them juniors. These formats include the driving range (3.1m active users), pitch and putt (2.3m), nine-hole courses (2.2m), putting greens (1.7m), and par-three or short courses (1.2m).
In addition, non-traditional formats have attracted engagement, including adventure or mini-golf (2.7m active users), golf computer games (1.9m), and golf simulators (0.4m). “Our ‘Golf Actives Survey’ suggests our sport is very healthy, participation in it is changing and the younger generation have more options to experience our wonderful game," said Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour. “That doesn’t mean playing 18 holes should not remain the pinnacle of golf: indeed, doing so successfully is the goal to which most will continue to aspire. It simply means that playing 18 holes shouldn’t be the sole yardstick we use to measure participation.”
As many as one in five under-18s is considered to be a "Golf Active" by the European Tour, with adventure golf, pitch and putt and the driving range all more popular forms of the game than a full-length course in that age group. And while golf computer games are played more frequently than any other format, in real terms as many young people are now found at a par-three course, a putting green or a nine-hole course trying to emulate what they have seen on their screens.
This is very interesting reading and shows golf in a different light and maybe the markers by which we calculate the figures need to be reviewed.
Let us know your thoughts? Is it Ok to include these other forms of golf in the figures?
Stonham Barns Golf