The drive to get more adults to play more golf in England was set a fresh challenge today when a cut in public funding for the sport was announced.

Sport England has reduced its funding to the England Golf Partnership (EGP) by £496,000 over the next three years. This follows falling participation in the 26-plus age group, shown by last December’s Active People Survey.

Golf is one of six sports which lose a total of £2.8m in the ‘Payment for Results’ review. The others are football, which loses £1.6m; netball, hockey, rowing and mountaineering.

Roger Moreland, the EGP’s Chief Operating Officer, commented: “It is disappointing that we didn’t meet our targets for the 26-plus age group. However, we are working closely together and with Sport England to address this and to increase participation, which is in the interests of everyone in the golf industry.

“As ever, we will respond positively to the challenge. England Golf, the Golf Foundation and the PGA have worked closely together for many years to grow the game and the partners will continue to do so. There are so many positive aspects to golf development in England and they provide huge opportunities to turn around the disappointing drop in participation in the 26-plus age group. England Golf’s emerging strategy has engaged so many partners from across the industry in its development and it will be an important element in binding many more partners behind achieving common goals for golf.

“2013 was a historic year for English players and teams and shows what a great job the system is doing in supporting each generation of talented golfers. The number of women playing golf is starting to grow, participation is up among retired people and also increasing among disabled people, and it is holding steady in the 14-25-year age group. We now have work even harder to turn around the downward trend in participation in the older age groups”

The industry-wide drive to increase participation in golf will be underlined in May when National Golf Month takes place. This initiative, driven by the Bauer Media Group and the British Golf Industry Association, is a major campaign to offer opportunities to beginners and 100,000 lapsed golfers to try the game. In England the offers will be featured on the EGP’s Get into golf website which directs visitors to great value coaching courses with PGA professionals.

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