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An independent study carried out by Sports Marketing Surveys INC. for the Golf Foundation has revealed the importance of family to growing the game of golf.

The comprehensive research involved quantitative surveys during which parents and guardians, junior golfers, club officials and coaches were surveyed across England and Wales.

The results highlighted the fact that 99% of parents see golf as providing a very safe environment for their children, and that 95% also believe the sport can teach their children valuable life skills.

Perhaps most revealing, however, was the confirmation that the vast majority of junior golfers (71%) would like to play more golf with their parents.

“The results of the survey prove that golf can have a hugely positive impact on a child’s upbringing,” commented Brendon Pyle, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation.

“We know that we can provide safe environments for children of all ages but it was particularly pleasing to see that younger children also have a real appetite to play the sport with their parents.

“Golf is perhaps the only sport where multiple generations of the same family can play together over decades and even compete. The fact that 71% of children surveyed expressed a real interest in playing with their parents proves that if clubs can provide an environment in which all ages feel welcome and comfortable, the sport will grow!”

A key catchment for attracting youngsters to the game of golf is between 6-12 years of age, during which 67% of the UK’s participating junior golfers first take up the game.

Juniors questioned confirmed that factors including availability of junior courses and academies, tolerant members, the ability to bring friends along for free and topically, more varied team formats, are the primary factors in retaining junior members.

The powers that be, including the European Tour, have acknowledged the need for alternative forms of the game and this has culminated in the creation of professional events such as GolfSixes, held at Centurion Club in May. The Golf Foundation is also testing this format in 32 golf clubs this summer, with European Tour support.

As part of the wider Get into golf campaign, family will be a big driver over the coming months. For example, the Golf Foundation is supporting England Golf’s official Family Golf Month; a national campaign targeting family participation through digital advertising and social media during July.

Moreover, the Foundation has made a commitment to distribute HSBC Golf Roots Family Kit Bags to over 300 UK golf clubs to enable them to offer free taster sessions to families. The bags will include child-friendly fun-oriented golf equipment, adaptable tee markers and ideas on playing formats for all generations of families to play together.

About the survey
Between April and October 2016 SMS INC. conducted an extensive programme of research. The aim was to extrapolate information designed to establish what the ‘Ultimate Junior Golf Experience’ looks like. Parents, guardians, junior golfers, club professionals and PGA Professionals were interviewed in order to establish the factors that are important to junior participation. Further research delved into the impact of retention of junior members in order to ultimately assist the Golf Foundation in their commitment to creating the ‘ultimate experience’ for young people.