Youngsters inspired by McIlroy to play golf

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 21, 2011 11:58

Youngsters inspired by McIlroy to play golf

As the golfing world reacts to Rory McIlroy’s split with management company ISM, a new poll has found that 39 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds were inspired to try golf for the first time following Rory McIlroy’s success at the US Open Championship in June.

The One Poll survey of 1,000 UK consumers, commissioned by Burhill Golf & Leisure, which owns and operates several golf clubs, also found that 68 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds are not aware of public facilities where anyone can learn and play, or thought that you had to be a member of a private golf club in order to play golf. Across all ages, 56 per cent said they were not aware of public pay-and-play facilities, raising concerns that golf is still perceived as an elitist, private club sport.

Colin Mayes, chief executive officer of Burhill Golf & Leisure and chairman of the UK Golf Course Owners Association, said: “The misconception that exists among young people, and more broadly, is that in order to play golf you have to become a paid up member of a private club with a strict dress code and a long list of rules. A lot of people just don’t realise there are pay-and-play courses open to everybody; they don’t realise they can just come in and play.”

However, Colin Mayes believes there are opportunities for golfers – and golf courses – to increase participation in the sport.

“It’s very clear that golf needs to open up and to be open for everybody. There is always a place for traditional clubs, however, our seven golf centres and three golf clubs are open to everybody – and that’s the way it has to be. We encourage families and youngsters to play and we have implemented a schools’ programme introducing children to golf and that’s the way golf has got to go.

“We run school holiday fun days and golf camps for children and some of our centres are attracting 10 to 20 per cent more juniors year-on-year. One of our venues, Birchwood in Kent, now has more than 400 juniors registered to play on our nine-hole short course, which is a great way to learn how to play.”


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 21, 2011 11:58
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  1. (@walmersleygc) (@walmersleygc) April 14, 19:43

    » Youngsters inspired by McIlroy to play golf

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