At a recent training camp the English Golf Union Elite Squad was surveyed by UK Sport on the subject of sporting conduct. Discussions led by Jerry Bingham, a member of UK Sport’s Strategy, Ethics and Research team, are a continuation of earlier research into the sporting conduct of six high profile sports; football, rugby union, rugby league, cricket, tennis and golf.
“The Sporting Conduct Initiative is about helping sports to develop practical strategies for improving and maintaining standards of conduct,” explained Jerry Bingham. “We believe that it is only by talking to players, coaches and officials within individual sports that we can generate a shared and credible view about what is acceptable and not acceptable on the field of play.
“We are delighted that the English Golf Union is so keen to take part in the project. Of course, golf enjoys an almost unparalleled reputation for fair play and sportsmanship but that doesn‘t mean it can‘t make a valuable contribution to our work. In particular we want to hear from those inside the game about how they think golf manages to preserve its ethos and to see whether there are lessons that might be transferable to other sports. I hope we will be able to build on this initial involvement and keep in touch with the players as the season, and their careers, progress.”
Early research has shown that in general from a spectator’s view 100% agreed that professional golfers act in a fair and sporting way when playing their sport in comparison to tennis (92%), cricket (72%) and football (59%).
Although that is a remarkable finding, the public perception is also that players‘ behaviour may not be at quite the level it was ten years ago. So it is important for golf to guard against complacency.
Commenting on the research, Nigel Furniss, performance director for the English Golf Union said, “Golf has an excellent record for discipline, etiquette and sporting conduct of which I am sure many other sports are envious. It is important that these values are upheld and maintained and I am therefore delighted with the response from the Elite Squad to the survey, which was extremely positive and encouraging. It is important that the role models of the future understand and protect the integrity and sportsmanship which is associated with the game of golf.”
UK Sport is planning to hold similar discussions with the elite women’s squad via the English Ladies Golf Association. A full copy of the UK Sport report on sporting conduct can be found on the UK Sport web site at www.uksport.gov.uk
English Golf Union www.englishgolfunion.org