England Golf has welcomed the announcement by the R&A, that The Open will be broadcast on both the BBC and Sky from 2017, knowing that the R&A will have taken this decision after full and careful consideration and in the best interests of golf right across Great Britain and Ireland.
England Golf recognises that this change after a period of 60 years, will cause unease in some quarters, particularly for those who feel that the loss of full coverage on free to air TV will impact negatively on participation numbers.
Participation in golf and club membership numbers have both been in a steady decline for the past decade and the direct correlation between the broadcast of The Open on BBC and an increase in demand for golf has not been proven. England Golf recognises the complexity in increasing participation and club membership and considers that new broadcast arrangements and the new funds which will be made available from 2017, can have a bigger impact on the growth of the game throughout England.
England Golf has recently launched its new strategy which aims to increase the regular participation in golf and halt the decline in club membership by 2017. The England Golf Partnership will also soon release the findings of the recent Portas Review, which examined the demand for golf and made clear recommendations for the growth of the game in England.
The R&A have made a commitment to investing new and additional funds in the development of the game across Great Britain and Ireland and England Golf now looks forward to discussions with the R&A over the next few months.
For more information please read an Open Letter from Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A.