Why are just 2% of England’s golfers from ethnic minorities?

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 5, 2014 11:19

England Golf, the body that runs amateur golf in England, has launched a drive to appeal golf to ethnic minorities.

The move comes as Sport England has revealed that just two percent of the 850,000 people in England who play golf on a weekly basis are non-white, and many golf clubs have reported that they have no members who are not white.

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It is thought to be England Golf’s largest ever drive to attract the game to ethnic minorities and comes at the same time as it has launched a new project to get more women playing the game.

The work comes against the backdrop of declining participation and membership numbers in golf in the UK, which England Golf is seeking to address via its 2014 to 2017 strategic plan, ‘Raising Our Game’.

“We are working with cultural groups to find ways to broaden the appeal of the game among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities,” said a spokeswoman.

“Relationships are being developed with organisations such as Sporting Equals, which promotes ethnic diversity across sport, and the Muslim Women’s Sports Foundation.”

As a result, the Surrey and Middlesex County Golf Partnerships set up a ‘Get into golf’ stand at the recent London Mela cultural festival – and took the opportunity to canvass views and opinions among the visitors, particularly as to why ethnic minorities make up such a small percentage of regular golfers in England and what could be done to make the game more attractive to them.


England Golf appealed to ethnic minorities at the recent London Mela festival

Andy Willems, England Golf’s senior regional manager, said: “London Mela is a huge festival which attracts about 80,000 people and gave us a great opportunity to do research.

“The vast majority of people we spoke to had never played golf but would be willing to learn, particularly in an informal, social setting.

“We want to promote golf to these communities in a way they find appealing and to let them know that golf is a welcoming and inclusive game.”

Richard Flint, England Golf’s participation and club support director, remarked: “We want to broaden the appeal of golf to attract people from different backgrounds in local communities.

“We are developing a relationship with organisations such as Sporting Equals to work together to make the sport more inclusive and to highlight the opportunities available through our Get into golf campaign, which is designed to inspire adults across England to take up golf. It offers affordable coaching for beginners and returners to golf and all sessions are run by PGA professionals. Equipment is provided so participants simply book through the Get into golf online system and turn up on the day in comfortable clothing.”

Arun Kang, the chief executive of Sporting Equals commented: “Sporting Equals is delighted to be working with England Golf to open up the sport to black and minority ethnic communities. An important part of England Golf’s strategic plan ‘Raising Our Game’ is to increase participation and break down barriers.

“Attending big cultural events like the London Mela is a good way to begin this process by connecting with new people and raising the profile of the game. I would encourage England Golf to attend more events aimed at these audiences and to work with Sporting Equals to increase participation ahead of golf being included in the Olympics in 2016.”

Rimla Akhtar, chair of the Muslim Women’s Sports Foundation (MWSF), added: “The MWSF is really pleased to have supported England Golf have a presence at the 2014 London Mela. We know England Golf are looking to increase the diversity of the sport and this is one important step they have taken so we hope to see our community engage in this great sport.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 5, 2014 11:19
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1 Comment

  1. ErnieLong December 7, 09:30

    The problem is that a lot of golf clubs do not practice what they preach, they dont clamp down on racism and racist comments made by members after too many post round pints. They are little bubbles where members think they can say what they want without any comeback, there is noone to report these comments to and therefore no discipline and the racists continue. Challenging people is all you can do, but it can be hard work, so as someone who is white who finds the atmosphere of many golf clubs diffucult to say the least, how would a black person feel, unwelcome ? Is it not surprising that therw is not much diversity at golf clubs. It is rare to have any ethnicity in golf clubs at all, women are only just being accepted !

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