The Golf Foundation is said to be “delighted” with the results of a targeted research project that explored the impact of its initiatives in schools, communities and golf clubs in England and Wales.
The survey was carried out for the Foundation by leading sports research company IFM Sports Marketing Surveys. The key objectives of the study were to assess the influence, success and lasting impact of Golf Foundation initiatives, including Tri-Golf, Golf Xtreme, the programmes linking schools and golf clubs, and the Junior Golf Passport for youngsters working towards their first handicap at golf facilities.
Qualitative telephone interviews were conducted with PGA professionals, project organisers (POs), teachers, and sports co-ordinators (SSCOs).
The survey confirmed that leading golf charity the Golf Foundation offers an attractive proposition to engage pros, POs and teachers. Those who wished to develop junior golf through measures such as going into schools generally thought that they would not have been able to succeed on the same scale without the support and influence of the Golf Foundation, both financially and logistically. Others said they would not have even considered such measures.
At a time when golf clubs are struggling to attract new adult members, the increase in numbers of junior golfers seen in golf clubs is a healthy trend, and all respondents to the survey attributed this increase to the Golf Foundation’s initiatives.
However, respondents believed that follow through to clubs would improve if there was more of the same in terms of financial help, changing perceptions, and personal support to those involved – all three of which the Golf Foundation has been delivering successfully. There were different views about the conversion rate from school to club, but all believed that the numbers joining golf clubs were higher than they would be without exposure to Golf Foundation initiatives.
According to one PGA professional delivering the Golf Foundation’s initiatives: “It’s an incredible system. We’re now going into schools that otherwise wouldn’t have golf. People are taking up the game who wouldn’t have seen golf before. My academy is full because of being able to go into primary schools and introduce the game.”
In terms of influence, the Golf Foundation is perceived as helping to change perceptions and break down barriers, as highlighted by one teacher who said: “Golf was seen as very exclusive; accessed by few. For most it was seen as out of reach; for old, wealthy people. The introduction of Golf Xtreme and Tri-Golf has brought it to the masses, giving every child the opportunity to give it a go.”
The importance of the Golf Foundation’s ‘Skills for Life’ agenda came through strongly and was particularly popular with the teachers. Another teacher said: “The values of golf are good social values for life. Any ways they can be put across to children in different circumstances away from the classroom can only be good.”
Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “This research was qualitative in nature but it presented a great opportunity to record genuine opinions from those working with us, where it matters, with the youngsters.
“We have been receiving some great informal feedback in the last couple of years concerning our work in schools and the linking of schools to golf clubs and driving ranges. This excellent research from IFM Sports Marketing Surveys, a company which has been a strong supporter of our work in recent years, has provided us with a more formal record of the views of our key partners in junior grass roots golf.
“We were delighted with the results and will now be able to present these findings to potential sponsors of Golf Foundation activity as we look to secure more funding going forwards; something we need to build on the momentum we have achieved in recent times.”
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org