England Golf is working with cultural groups to find ways to broaden the appeal of the game among black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.
Relationships are being developed with organisations such as Sporting Equals, which promotes ethnic diversity across sport, and the Muslim Women’s Sports Foundation.
As a result, the Surrey and Middlesex County Golf Partnerships set up a Get into golf stand at the recent London Mela cultural festival – and took the opportunity to canvass views and opinions among the visitors.
The BAME communities account for only a tiny proportion of regular golfers and the CGPs were seeking information about ways to make the game more attractive to them.
Andy Willems, the England Golf’s Senior Regional Manager, said: “London Mela is a huge festival which attracts about 80,000 people and gave us a great opportunity to do research. The vast majority of people we spoke to had never played golf but would be willing to learn, particularly in an informal, social setting.
“We want to promote golf to these communities in a way they find appealing and to let them know that golf is a welcoming and inclusive game.”
The England Golf Strategic Plan 2014-17, ‘Raising Our Game’ identifies aims which include increasing the number of regular golfers and removing barriers to participation. Richard Flint, the England Golf Participation and Club Support Director, remarked: “We want to broaden the appeal of golf to attract people from different backgrounds in local communities.
“We are developing a relationship with organisations such as Sporting Equals to work together to make the sport more inclusive and to highlight the opportunities available through our Get into golf campaign.”
Get into golf is designed to inspire adults across England to take up golf. It offers affordable coaching for beginners and returners to golf and all sessions are run by PGA professionals. Equipment is provided so participants simply book through the Get into golf online system and turn up on the day in comfortable clothing. To find out more click here
Arun Kang, the chief executive of Sporting Equals commented: “Sporting Equals is delighted to be working with England Golf to open up the sport to black and minority ethnic communities. An important part of England Golf’s strategic plan 'Raising Our Game' is to increase participation and break down barriers.
“Attending big cultural events like the London Mela is a good way to begin this process by connecting with new people and raising the profile of the game. I would encourage England Golf to attend more events aimed at these audiences and to work with Sporting Equals to increase participation ahead of golf being included in the Olympics in 2016."
Rimla Akhtar, Chair of the Muslim Women’s Sports Foundation, added: “The MWSF is really pleased to have supported England Golf have a presence at the 2014 London Mela. We know England Golf are looking to increase the diversity of the sport and this is one important step they have taken towards connecting with the BAME community so we hope to see our community engage in this great sport."