Members of both Houses of Parliament have come together to create an all-party group to support the sport of golf and have announced the date of its first meeting.
A website has been set up – www.parliamentary.golf – and anyone interested in becoming an Associate Member can join.
The group, which includes MP’s Karl McCartney and Stephen Gethins, has also created a Twitter account @ParliamentGolf
Their first meeting takes place on January 19.
The NCG team discuss what they think the first discussions should be about…
James Millar: Probably the most obvious one, but they should have a discussion on how they are going to tackle to the continuous slide of golf participation. If the group is there to ‘support the game of golf’ then that in my opinion is what needs to be cured first.
James Savage: This is a tough one because the remit of the group is very vague at this stage. All it states at the moment is to ‘support the game of golf’.
So first port of call for me would be to establish what it is exactly that they are trying to achieve.
It will inevitably involve increasing participation. I think simply looking at membership numbers is too narrow. Times have changed. They need to look at the bigger picture and realise that is no longer an accurate gauge on how many people are playing regularly.
Find ways of getting casual golfers to invest in their local clubs with forward-thinking initiatives. Make people feel part of a golf club without simply telling them they have to part with loads of money.
James Broadhurst: Perhaps they could discuss ways to get more junior players involved in golf. The group could look to promote a campaign to get more youngsters interested in the sport.
Jordan Elliot: This new golf group should discuss golf from a grassroots level, and how they can best get kids into golf.
Karl Hansell: Have you seen some of the other All Party Parliamentary Groups?
Biodiversity, Eggs, Pigs and Poultry, Furniture Industry, Jazz Appreciation, Magna Carta, Zoroastrianism.
There are hundreds – they have them for pretty much everything. And they are all tasked with ‘raising awareness’ of their particular subject.
You can imagine the squash, quoits, dominoes groups saying ‘Oi, how about raising awareness about us? We don’t have the benefit of multi-billion pound television deals!’
I don’t think this is anything other than a chance for a few of the Old Boys down in Parliament to get themselves out for a few cheeky holes every now and then.
It certainly doesn’t do anything to help golf’s image as anything other than a game for rich white men.
Call me cynical, but I think the only question that’s going to be asked at the first meeting of this group is ‘Who’s honours is it?’
Tom Irwin: I am not entirely sure that much golf is possible in Westminster in the dark in January.
Anything that is happening to try and help support golf should be supported. A group headed by people who can influence and lobby in the right areas sounds good to me.
Top of the agenda should be returning tournament golf to England. As Gethins says the economic benefit to local areas can be huge, as we saw at this years Scottish Open, as well as the obvious boon the sport.
I might join.
JS: They need to decipher the harmful stereotypes that surround golf and the actual problems and figure out whether or not they are one and the same.
For me, women’s golf should be a huge area of focus because when you compare our participation to the rest of Europe it is embarrassing. Try and find out what is different and how other countries are doing things better.
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