The BMW PGA Championship tees off tomorrow (October 8) at Wentworth Club, and to mark the occasion the German-based car manufacturer, which has sponsored the event since 2005, sent Sky Sports Golf presenter Nick Dougherty on a ‘Garden Golf Tour’ to play with some of the sport’s most passionate devotees.
For the first time in the BMW PGA Championship history, the European Tour’s flagship event will be played without fans present at the famous Wentworth course, but this has not stopped golf lovers showing their support for the sport. In fact, golf has seen a 40% spike in popularity since lockdown began in March, with the public taking up the sport from home and out on courses when lockdown eased.
To celebrate the competition and its aficionados, former European Tour star Dougherty has hit the road in search of enthusiasts who couldn’t go without a round of golf during lockdown and built their own garden golf courses at home.
“The courses that fans have created are incredible,” said Dougherty. “As well as being a great sport, many people find golf really helps relieve stress. Covid-19 shone a light on the game and showed more people than ever how golf can help with fitness both physically and mentally, by getting us outdoors and active. The last few months have opened up the sport to new players, old and young.”
He added: “The courses people have built in their gardens are more than just golf courses – they are ways to spend more time with family and friends, create challenges between golfing buddies, practice their short game and, more than anything, spend time outside. The BMW PGA Championship will be more popular than ever this year and I’m sure will inspire more people to transform their gardens.”
Garden Golf has not only been good for established players, the benefits of having the sport so close to home are also being felt by younger generations.
Lila, 12, from Rugby is a golf fanatic playing with a 15 handicap. Her father, Paul, created a garden golf course for her while he was furloughed during lockdown. Lila said: “The garden golf course has meant I’ve been able to practice every day, something that would have been difficult when we weren’t allowed out. Golf makes me feel incredibly happy, and my love for the game has increased during lockdown – it’s also been a great way to spend more time with my dad.”