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Report reveals social benefits of golf volunteering

A report commissioned by England Golf and the Professional Golfers’ Association has found that the social benefits of golf extend far beyond the green, with volunteers having as much to gain as players.

The new research into the social value generated by golf identified that volunteering accounts for a fifth (20 per cent) of the overall benefits for society. With an average of 88 hours given up per unpaid helper every year, volunteering is responsible for £359.18 million out of the £1,800.06 million rewards created by the popular sport.

The study has also shown that the positive side-effects of volunteering are two-fold. Not only can individuals boost their own personal wellbeing but their in-kind input also adds social capital to the organisation they donate their time to. With a further £178.8 million coming from the social capital associated with volunteering, unpaid golf participation accounts for nearly a third of the total (£537.98 million) benefits to society from the sport.

Volunteering has long been acknowledged within golf but the new report ensures the position of the 50,000 estimated golf volunteers across England is fully recognised. Nick Pink, chief executive of England Golf, said: “We have had a strategy in place for a few years directly addressing the needs and requirements of volunteers and this report highlights not only that our policies are working but if anything, the work they do needs to be further recognised. Whilst people are increasingly aware of the benefits of regular sports participation, this study demonstrates that volunteering can be just as important in terms of social value.”

Golf volunteering can take many forms in both the recreational and professional game. Recreationally, volunteers undertake a wide range of roles at club, county, regional and national levels. These can range from being club captain to event organiser, squad manager, referee, junior organiser, fund raisers and administrators, to name just a few. For the professional game, it is the volunteers that make the international tours and championships the success they are both in terms of the experiences of players and fans but also the fundraising and charitable donations as a result.

With autumn an ideal time to explore new hobbies, England Golf hopes these findings will encourage potential volunteers to explore how they could boost their happiness levels and spread the benefits across their community by donating their time to local golf organisations.