BGIA Chair Philip Morley discusses a key objective of the BGIA, which is to ‘Grow the Game of Golf’. This sounds easy enough, but is it really? He has outlined his thoughts on some of the major associations contribution to growing the game.
Living in the UK we might incorrectly think
the R&A is looking after this matter for us and it is easy to overlook the
massive worldwide responsibilities that the R&A have in overseeing the game
of golf - including of course the rules. The R&A are also involved in
many levels of elite player competitions with the jewel in the crown of course
being The Open Championship.
The PGA work on behalf of their members at
golf facilities around the UK. The PGA Professional is at the front line of the
golf industry and in a prime position to introduce new players into the
game. Many professionals do a fantastic job working with their golf clubs
to try to attract new players, but the modern PGA Professional has many hats to
wear to provide a living for their family which, of course will be their most
The European Tour now has events in 27
countries and the Golfsixes competition captured the attention of the industry,
but it is a shame that the exposure on TV is limited to a small number of Sky
viewers that are already golfers. It should also be remembered that the
European Tour is run by the members for the members.
England Golf has a huge range of services
that they offer to elite players, county teams, major amateur events, and golf
clubs (for operational support). The Golf Foundation is clearly focused
on developing junior golf and have an increasingly effective operation that
punches well above its weight.
Private member golf clubs are slowly changing
some of the traditional values of being a member but have to overcome resistance
to change from within to become relevant in today’s world where being a
welcoming and friendly sanctuary to enjoy our downtime is paramount. Proprietary owned clubs have been able to adapt to meet the
needs of the modern world quicker (without the baggage of tradition), typically
they now have a clear commercial objective of giving the customer what they
With no golf now shown on terrestrial TV and
less coverage in the newspapers, a big problem that’s being highlighted is if you
don’t live near a golf course or have relatives that play and talk about golf
you might not even know it exists!
In conclusion, a lot is done to support elite
players and existing golfers but very, very little is being done to attract non-golfers
to try our great game. Our industry is very specialised, with fantastic
associations all doing great things, however this area is one where we ALL need
to take ownership and work together for the good of us all….and the game of
The BGIA Executive Board and myself are currently discussing
ways we can get the various associations together to resolve this issue. If you
have any ideas on this or how to directly increase participation, please
contact BGIA Association Manager Ciara Morgan in the first instance - firstname.lastname@example.org and she will
forward them to me.