The governing body have vowed to make golf accessible to everyone who wants to play as survey results reveal the scale of the task ahead
Nearly a third of golfers who responded to a survey into the culture of golf said they had “witnessed or experienced discrimination”.
The shocking figures were revealed as England Golf launched a “call to action”, a new campaign – Respect in Golf – to “inspire, promote and create greater understanding and embracement of equality, diversity and inclusion within the sport”.
More than 22,000 people responded to the survey, and the results identified that 31 per cent had either seen or been the subject of discrimination “at some point during their time as a golfer”.
Of that number, 71 per cent did not report the incident.
The worrying figures were disclosed as the governing body unveiled a new mission and movement – “golf belongs to everyone, all who play, and all who aspire to play, must have an equal opportunity to do so”.
Outlining the stance that there is “no place for discrimination in golf”, England Golf chief executive Jeremy Tomlinson said they recognised the “negative perceptions of golf regarding age, gender, ethnicity and ability, which we intend to break down”.
“There are too many good people in our sport looking to drive a more inclusive, welcoming culture for us not to drive communicated change through this movement.
“Our England Golf Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Framework, alongside the Junior Golf Strategy in collaboration with the Golf Foundation, has been created to not only increase participation throughout underrepresented groups but to also address and change perceptions.
“We see Respect in Golf running through the heart of everything we do on a daily basis.
“Respect in Golf simply means, anybody, who is or wants to participate in golf in any way, shape or form, feels that they are cared for and treated equally, feeling encouraged to progress further in the game without worry or concern that they are not welcome.”
Respect in Golf has four core pillars, which England Golf say each highlights aspects of diversity and inclusivity. These are:
LEAD by example: Respect in all we do
ENERGISE & SUPPORT with better understanding: Establish a shared language for change
DELIVER a safe environment: SafeGolf accreditation
INSPIRE the most welcoming environment: Everyone must have an equal opportunity to participate in golf at any level
Clubs and counties affiliated to England Golf must work towards implementing mandatory policies in line with their terms of affiliation. The governing body are also working alongside the other home unions and industry partners.
Commenting on the survey numbers, Tomlinson added: “The reaction to the survey is a clear indication that there are many voices that need to be heard within our sport and we thank everybody for their input.
“We are genuinely excited about this movement, as such we are encouraging everyone not to just recognise Respect in Golf, but to celebrate it with actions, as we look to grow our sport helping it appeal more to the wider public.”
To find out more about Respect in Golf, visit England Golf’s website.
What do you think? Will you get behind England Golf’s new Respect in Golf campaign? Let me know with a tweet.
Do the Ryder Cup captains actually matter?