An overwhelming number of British club golfers believe their sport does not receive the coverage it deserves from national newspapers, according to a poll taken by HowDidiDo, Europe’s largest golfing community.
A staggering 98 per cent of respondents to the poll on the HowDidiDo website voiced their displeasure and felt golf was not a priority for the national sporting press. Football dominates the thoughts of those on national sports desks, according to 97 per cent of club golfers.
When golf is covered by national newspapers, only 16 per cent of respondents felt the coverage was good or better. More than half (53 per cent) of the people replying believed golf reporting was below average or worse.
The Telegraph and Mail newspaper groups can take some consolation from the fact that, when golf is afforded the column inches it merits, their titles are regarded as providing the best coverage.
Thirty per cent of respondents believed the Daily and Sunday Telegraph provided the best golf coverage with twenty per cent opting for the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.
There are arguably few better websites from which to take an accurate sample of golfing opinion. HowDidiDo boasts a membership of more than 370,000 golfers – all golf club members – and contains a database of handicaps, results and scores for in excess of 1.3m men and women. During 2011, the site received more than 60 million page views.
HowDidiDo’s managing director, Barry Dyett, said: “We were not surprised to learn that most club golfers believe that football is the be all and end all for the national media. It’s almost always a Premier League story which dominates the back pages these days.
“It’s probably more of a surprise to see just which papers our members – all paid-up club golfers remember – believe give the sport the best coverage when it does feature. Obviously, golf gains more prominence at times of the Open, the Masters and the Ryder Cup, but it’s still the middle-class newspapers that dominate.
“Does this suggest that tabloid editors believe their readership does not play or has no interest in golf? You’d have to ask them that, but, if so, it’s a pretty anachronistic view. There are an estimated four million golfers in this country and not all of them read the Telegraph or the Mail. I think they’re missing a trick here…”
Registration to HowDidiDo is required to check handicap lists or competition results, but it remains a free service to any golf club whose administrators use CLUB2000 software from Club Systems International, which is in place at around 2,000 UK clubs. Nearly 1,800 golf clubs currently use the HowDidiDo site and the service welcomes new members daily.