• European Tour survey looked at different formats of the game
• Included golf computer games and golf simulators
More than a fifth of the UK population was actively engaged in some form of golf over the past 12 months, a survey conducted by the European Tour has revealed.
Called the ‘Golf Actives Study’, it discovered that 11m people in the UK – 9.3m adults and 1.7m juniors (aged 6-17) – were actively engaged, in a survey which looked at the different forms of golf to reflect the changing face of the sport.
Unlike most other golf surveys which generally tend to look at adults who are considered to be full length course users, this study looks at the emergence of several shorter formats, including: the driving range (3.1m active users), pitch and putt (2.3m), nine-hole courses (2.2m), putting greens (1.7m) and par-3 or short courses (1.2m).
"Playing 18 holes shouldn’t be the sole yardstick we use to measure participation" - Keith Pelley
In addition, non-traditional formats of golf to have attracted active engagement in the game include adventure or mini-golf (2.7m), computer games (1.9m) and simulators (0.4m). As a result, these ‘golf actives’ are taking part in more than one of these varied formats of the game.
“Our ‘Golf Actives Survey’ suggests our sport is very healthy, participation in it is changing and the younger generation have more options to experience our wonderful game,” said European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley.
“That doesn’t mean playing 18 holes should not remain the pinnacle of golf: indeed, doing so successfully is the goal to which most will continue to aspire. It simply means that playing 18 holes shouldn’t be the sole yardstick we use to measure participation.”
Key to the new study was unveiling the role of younger people involved in the game. As many as one in five under-18s is considered to be a ‘Golf Active’ by the European Tour, with adventure golf, pitch and putt and the driving range all more popular forms of the game than a full length course in that age group.
And while golf computer games are played more frequently than any other format, in real terms as many young people are now found at a par-3 course, a putting green or a nine-hole course trying to emulate what they have seen on their mobile devices.
The European Tour believes there is an opportunity to promote wider forms of golf, encouraging younger Golf Actives to be involved over a shorter time frame, and at non-traditional venues, as a precursor to embracing longer forms of the game.
European Tour survey :: Your thoughts
What do you make of the results of this survey? A good thing? Or is the European Tour trying to widen how they look at golf to make the results be seen in a positive light? Leave your thoughts below.