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 important priority.  

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 want.  

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 golf.  

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 - ciara@sportsandplay.com and she will forward them to me.