After discussing in a recent blog the importance of getting women into golf, let’s switch gears and talk about minorities, or the lack of minorities, on the golf course despite Canada’s changing demographics.
I think the same applies to new arrivals in Canada as non-golfers who were born here. Getting their children to play is a positive step towards getting the parents involved in the game.
Do the children of immigrants have access to programs? That’s why I think the Golf in Schools program is great. We’re getting into the schools and accessing kids we’ve never had access to in the past.
Golf has been painted with the brush of being too expensive and too elite, but by reaching out to people through Golf in Schools and similar programs, we’re going to find children who have never been exposed to the game before.
If you look at the typical demographic of a golf course, you’re not going to see a lot of people there who have arrived recently from other countries.
Access is the key just as it is with women. You have to provide a comfort level and let them know that they’re welcome at a golf course.
Twenty years ago, when I first started running women’s golf programs, there weren’t a whole lot who were playing and those who did got involved through their husbands. It evolved into women playing for business reasons.
Perhaps, we can also get people who arrived from other countries involved through family connections as well and maybe, if the kids take up the game, it will encourage parents too.
It’s almost the reverse of what we’ve traditionally done in getting the parents to play first, which led to the kids getting involved.
So programs such as Golf in Schools can have a nice spinoff effect with the parents. Individual clubs can adopt a school in their communities and approach various ethnic groups. At the club level, we’ve got to start looking at not only today, tomorrow or three years from now.
We’ve got to be looking at 10 to 20 years from now and national programs such as Golf in Schools can serve in a supporting role to what we should all be doing at the club level.