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A new study has found that a significant proportion of the UK’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups are interested in taking up golf – but that the overwhelming majority of them don’t feel the sport is welcoming to them.

Sport Psychology Ltd, in collaboration with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, asked BAME citizens their views on golf compared to a range of other sports.

The survey asked two key questions: How inclusive do you think golf is now for people of your background? And assuming all sports were equally inclusive and open, which sports would you like to play or try?

In response to question one, nearly all the BAME participants who expressed an opinion on golf (92.4%) rated it as either not inclusive at all or observed that ‘some people like me are welcome but it is rare’.

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The other 7.6% mainly rated the sport as neutral or moderately welcoming. No one felt it was very inclusive for people from non-white ethnic backgrounds.

In addition, all of this group indicated they already participated in the game in some form.

However, in response to question two, nearly 25% of the respondents indicated that, if golf were inclusive, they would be ‘very interested’ in participating.

Interestingly, the highest level of interest came from Asian males aged 35 to 60, with 32.3% of this group indicating that they would be ‘very interested’ in participating in golf if it were more inclusive.

The psychologists from SPL followed up the survey with one-on-one interviews of the respondent sample to get a greater understanding of the feelings and emotions driving the response patterns.

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SPL chief psychologist Stephen Smith commented: “ It was clear that there is a great deal of underlying interest in golf and this may increase as the communities recognise how beneficial it can be for physical and mental wellbeing in a COVID-19 world.

“There was clearly a great interest in Asian males, often as their ability to participate in competitive cricket reduced with age.

“However, if golf wants to take advantage of this opportunity, it needs to address its own culture and the emotional blockers that are stopping these groups from approaching the game.”

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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