EGP loses £500,000 of public funding
The England Golf Partnership (EGP) is to lose £500,000 of public funding because not enough people aged 26 and over have taken up golf in the last year.
It is the second biggest loser, after football, out of six sports that have seen £2.8m of funding from Sport England cut because of failures to hit targets.
The money is given by Sport England to the EGP, which distributes it to several county golf partnerships throughout England, which work with golf clubs to introduce the game to more people via, for example, taster sessions and free coaching.
Roger Moreland, the EGP’s chief operating officer, said: “It is disappointing that we didn’t meet our targets for the 26-plus age group.
“However, we are working closely together and with Sport England to address this and to increase participation, which is in the interests of everyone in the golf industry.
“The number of women playing golf is starting to grow, participation is up among retired people and also increasing among disabled people, and it is holding steady in the 14-to-25-year age group. We now have work even harder to turn around the downward trend in participation in the older age groups.
“There are so many positive aspects to golf development in England and they provide huge opportunities to turn around the disappointing drop in participation in the 26-plus age group.”
A spokesman for Sport England said the money England Golf Partnership would have received “will be reinvested in new partners who can show how to make golf quicker, cheaper and less formal”.
“Sport England is challenging the sport to take radical action to stop the continuing decline in the number of people playing golf regularly,” he said.
Sport England chief executive, Jennie Price, added: “I want this decision to send a clear message to those NGBs who need to change. This year, we are removing up to 10 per cent of their future investment, and we will be working with them to improve their plans. I want to reassure people who play golf that they won’t lose out – we will still fund them, but through other bodies, such as local authorities or charities.”
The EGP has added that the funding cut will not affect ‘National Golf Month’, which will take place this May. This initiative, driven by the Bauer Media Group and the British Golf Industry Association, is a campaign to offer opportunities to beginners and 100,000 lapsed golfers to try the game.