In the second part of our exclusive online article written by GolfSupport.com the barriers to golf continue to be evaluated….
The cost of golf
In order to play golf, you need the correct equipment. The average beginner golf set costs around £100, however a good set can cost as much as £500 and over. Although those who may not have enough money or are just starting out and want to have a taste of the sport, golf clubs can be rented from most courses for a small fee, usually for as little as £15 per game – and some clubs even offer this service free. Arguably golf doesn’t have to be expensive – it’s only as expensive as you make it. If you choose to play at a public course on a game-by-game basis and rent golf clubs from the course, the game doesn’t calculate to much more than other sports.
This chart demonstrates that you can play a round of golf for just £4.25 an hour, or £17 for an average 4-hour game, which results to the same price of a meal out, or a few drinks at the pub which in the grand scheme of things, is not too expensive.
How can golf become more inclusive?
The first step would be to allow alternative memberships at a reduced cost, enabling more people – male and female, young people and senior, working class and middle class – to freely take part. This could be plausible by creating memberships that include a smaller number of features, memberships that are monthly or weekly, upfront payments for a certain number of discounted games, more pay-as-you-go games at a discounted rate. More golf courses are banking in on this, however this is more scope for change and variety. For example, golf clubs could run family-orientated days to help introduce their children to golf in a fun and non-intimidating way.
The best way to get women from all ages to try-out golf is to organise and advertise taster sessions throughout the year solely for women, or allow women a specific time slot each day to play with her friends and not feel pressurised in a domain that is stereotypically viewed as a men’s territory.
Encouraging young people
It is important to get schools to involve children in games surrounding gold, such as foot-golf and crazy golf, encouraging young people to develop an interest in the sport and pursue it as a sport later on in life. These activities can be implemented during PE with their peers, actively promoting the sport and inspiring the students at the same time.
Remove selective joining processes
If golf clubs want to sign more members, they should make joining clubs easier. Some courses employ a strict, formal and lengthy process which may discourage potential new members. Today, people – particularly millennials – would prefer a simple, straightforward sign-up procedure, helping open their doors up to new members.
Remove dress codes
Strict dress codes are likely to put off young people because many would brand it ‘unfashionable’ and would prefer a break from clothing restrictions following having to adhere to school dress codes on a daily basis. The further helps to create an ‘us and them’ philosophy, leaving people feeling excluded from the golfing world.
It has become clear that golf’s continuing image as an exclusive sport is an issue without a simple solution. Traditions and etiquette deeply established in the game have led to stereotyping of the sport and has, on the whole, created a white middle class membership base. To increase future membership and change opinions of the game at hand, the sport should largely encourage more members from a variety of social and ethnic backgrounds to take up the sport.