AS the world’s best golfers gather to compete in the 144th Open Championship in St Andrews this week, major organisations from the European golf sector will gather with researchers at the University of St Andrews in an effort to better describe the health benefits of golf, and to explore ways to increase participation across the EU.
The new GoGolf Europe project has successfully secured co-funding from the European Commission under Erasmus+, the EU programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport for 2014-2020.
The project will unite five European countries – the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, the Netherlands and Portugal – in a three year initiative designed to test innovative new access pathways to golf for European youth while also documenting the unique health benefits which the sport can provide to all people.
Richard Heath, General Secretary of the European Golf Association (EGA), the organisation leading the project, commented: “Europe has excellent capacity for golf with over 6,700 courses and some 7.9 million citizens already playing the sport.
“Nonetheless, we are facing significant challenges in effectively engaging young people to take up the sport and we are actively seeking innovative new solutions for growing youth participation.”
In conjunction with the EGA, the project will unite the National Golf Governing Bodies of the five participating countries alongside the PGAs of Europe, the European Observatoire of Sport and Employment and the University of St Andrews as the official research partner.
Alongside the funding support from the European Union, co-financing will also be provided by the PGA European Tour and the EGA.
Dr Rehema M White, of the University of St Andrews’ Sustainable Development Department, said: “Europe is currently experiencing a crisis in physical inactivity and we are going to focus on showcasing and documenting the particular contributions which golf can make to overcoming these worrying trends.
“The GoGolf project unites an excellent group of partner organisations with real potential to deliver positive and impacting change for the industry and we are very much looking forward to collaborating and providing support from the research perspective over the next three years.”