SHORTER golf courses, relaxed dress codes and more affordable equipment rentals could help golf clubs recruit and retain more young golfers, according to a recent report.
The report, The Opportunity to Grow Golf: Youth Participation, was published by Syngenta before the Ryder Cup kicked off at Gleneagles and was based on specialist qualitative research with golfers and non-golfers in the 14-15 and 17-18 age groups.
The findings have already been given the thumbs-up by the Golf Foundation, as they are said to give golf clubs and courses a better understanding of how to keep younger golfers involved in the game.
Simon Elsworth of Syngenta said some the responses might not have come as a surprise, but listening to the opinions of those age groups was, nevertheless, a hugely worthwhile exercise.
“While some of the responses from the series of focus groups might have been expected, listening carefully to what young people have to say about sport and golf, what interests them and what would engage them further is enlightening,” said Elsworth.
“In many ways, what youths say about golf in terms of its friendliness (spending time with friends and family; customer service) and flexibility (opportunity to play nine-holes rounds; dress codes) is consistent with what many existing golfers and prospective players say and want.”
He added: “From a business perspective, youth participation is an important strategic opportunity for golf as a sport and a business.
“Giving young people opportunities to engage in golf in a way that will enable them to enjoy the many benefits it offers as a sport and social activity will help develop long-term participants and customers.”
The Golf Foundation’s Brendon Pyle said the report would act as an important tool to highlight more ways to get more kids into golf.
“This report is greatly appreciated by the Golf Foundation,” said Pyle, the acting CEO of the Golf Foundation.
“It confirms much of our own understanding of young people and their perception of golf whilst also offering new insight into ways of recruiting and retaining more young people in the sport.
“Reassuringly, several of the factors identified by the study to encourage young people to start golf are already being applied by the Golf Foundation and its partners.”