National Golf Month, the annual programme aimed at growing participation in the sport, will focus on encouraging more women to take up the game when it commences on May 1.
Currently 14% of golfers in the United Kingdom are female, compared to 25% in Europe, which places the UK as the lowest of the top 10 markets in Europe.
Charley Hull, Team GB golfer and Ladies European Tour pro, said: “It’s clear that women’s golf is an untapped market in this country compared to the rest of Europe. National Golf Month presents a real opportunity for clubs, centres and pros to exploit this participation gap and come up with new and engaging ways to grow the sport.”
The programme will offer 50,000 free one-hour trial sessions exclusively for women, worth over £2million, which will be the industry’s largest ever promotional offer aimed specifically at getting women started in the sport. New participants can visit the National Golf Month website to search and book sessions.
Former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley said: “I think we all recognise the terrific social, health and wellbeing benefits that the game of golf has to offer.
“To be able to introduce this many people to the game at one time is a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of those benefits, and the fact that many of the taster sessions will be free, all via the National Golf Month website, is an added bonus.”
Recent research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine describes the benefits of playing golf to health and wellbeing.
Lead scientist Dr Andrew Murray, from the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh, said: “We know that the moderate physical activity that golf provides increases life expectancy, has mental health benefits, and can help prevent and treat more than 40 major chronic diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer.
“Evidence suggests golfers live longer than non-golfers, enjoying improvements in cholesterol levels, body composition, wellness, self-esteem and self-worth. Given that the sport can be played by the very young to the very old, this demonstrates a wide variety of health benefits for women of all ages.”
This year’s National Golf Month will also address some of the key barriers preventing women from getting into the game, including the cost of taster sessions, easy access and the chance to try the game with friends. These factors were highlighted by Syngenta’s recent report ‘Unlocking Golf’s True Potential’.
Philip Morley, Chair of the British Golf Industry Association, said: “The British Golf Industry Association is delighted, once again, to support National Golf Month which remains the most effective campaign we have to promote the sport in the UK. Golf is a fun, healthy and social game which more people should try, especially women. We hope that our efforts this year will help to boost female participation in the game for the long term.”