R&A Chief says clubs should break from tradition

Martin Slumbers

Golf clubs are being urged to break with tradition to capture more than 9 million golf consumers who are not currently club members.

R&A Chief Executive Martin Slumbers made the call at a press conference at St Andrews where he confirmed growing golf participation is now his focus.

"We have to change,” he said. “Grassroots is going to struggle unless the game changes.”

Slumbers explained how the R&A had invested in research into customers who consume golf in various formats, including 18-hole golf, 9-hole golf, ranges, short courses, Topgolf and adventure golf.

“That group of people is 10.2 million,” he said. “It’s much more diverse, and it’s younger than the golf club membership.”

He continued, “You go to clubs which deliver non‑traditional forms of the game and they’re busy.

“Those are clubs that are very family orientated, they have fitness facilities, creches, coffee shops, free WiFi, no dress codes, a par-three course, a short 9-hole course, or an adventure putting course – those are the ones that are going to succeed.”

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