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Social research findings released in Australia and England

The sport’s benefits to the community revealed.

10th November 2017
Golfers aged 55 and upwards record the most significant health rewards including a reduced risk of dementia and coronary heart disease.  
The Australian Golf Industry Council (AGIC) has recently launched The Community Impact of Golf in Australia Report 2017.  This follows the release of a report commissioned by England Golf and the Professional Golfers’ Association earlier this summer, which looked at the benefits for society of the sport.

In England, the research concluded that golf has an overall social value of £1.8 billion and that every £1 spent on golf generates £1.17 worth of social benefits, or Social Return on Investment (calculated by dividing the total social value of golf participation by the total costs/ inputs).  Conducted by the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University, the research takes into consideration the total social value of golf participation measured through factors such as subjective wellbeing, health and social capital and divides this by total inputs into the sport from golf players, volunteers, funders of the game and the delivery bodies.

Enhanced wellbeing is by far the most striking reward for players, equating to £2,380 per person or a total of £1.2 billion.  The report also found that you do not even have to play the game to benefit, as a further 10% or £178.8 million is found in the positive emotions generated by volunteering. Quite simply, people who are regularly involved in the sport are happier and feel the benefits across their everyday lives.

Improved health is the second biggest benefit (22% of total social value), with players aged 55 and upwards recording the most significant rewards including a reduced risk of dementia and coronary heart disease.

Nick Pink, Chief Executive of England Golf, says: “Until now, golf-related studies had only been able to consider the economic value brought about by the sport. By exploring the associated social benefits it has become clear that the sport’s overall impact extends far greater than just financial rewards and that there is a powerful argument for continued investment in golf participation across young and old alike. We are keen to highlight the importance of golf to the older generation whether a new or existing player.  We’re delighted to have the facts that show that not only is playing golf good for you but, importantly, it can positively influence the wider community.”

In Australia, the AGIC commissioned a formal study, recently completed by Sport Business Partners and Street Ryan, to demonstrate the specific economic, social and health benefits the game provides to communities in Australia.

AGIC chairman and Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt was encouraged by the findings and said the report would help the wider community understand golf’s true value: “The AGIC study is a great step forward in being able to document the incredible value the game represents to not only those involved directly in the sport, but the Australian community at large.  There are the more tangible benefits such as golf tourism and its associated financial benefits, or the increasingly important environmental aspects that open and green spaces encourage. But as important, if not more so, are the intangibles.  This study reveals and documents the health advantages of engagement with golf – physical and mental health benefits worth millions of dollars to the Australian community which are, quite simply, enormous.”

Report highlights include:

In total, golf in Australia contributes $3.614 billion annually to the community, comprising almost $3.483 billion in economic contribution and $132 million in physical and mental health contribution

  • Golf tourism generates $477 million per year through day and overnight visitation, food and beverage spending, accommodation, travel, shopping, etc
  • Golf’s physical health benefits contribute $126.6 million per year because of the prevention of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancer
  • Golf teaches valuable life lessons and principles such as respect, honesty, etiquette and self-discipline
  • Golf provides a foundation to build a strong and connected community
  • Participation in golf provides regular and cross-generational social interaction across the life span
  • The game of golf and golf courses provide a strong connection to the outdoors and natural environment.

The full AGIC report can be downloaded here.