The Wales international and Real Madrid star will support The R&A’s golf participation drive in his role as a global ambassador; Gareth Bale joins Niall Horan and Modest! Golf in trying to inspire more people to take up the sport
Last Updated: 31/01/22 1:04pm
Gareth Bale has agreed to become a global ambassador for The R&A in support of its activities to inspire new audiences around the world into playing golf.
Bale will join Niall Horan and Modest! Golf in backing a drive to encourage more people into playing golf, including women and young people, by using the power of influencers from the sports and entertainment world to broaden its appeal and boost its image.
Phil Anderton, chief development officer at The R&A, said: „Gareth’s passion for golf is clear for everyone to see and he will play an influential role in supporting the new golfer initiatives we are working on with Modest! Golf and plan to introduce this year.
„We want to reach new audiences who are not yet aware of golf’s many great benefits, including health and wellbeing, and believe that role models like Gareth can help inspire more women and young people into the sport and enhance golf’s reputation with millions of followers worldwide. We see real potential in this approach and working to secure similar arrangements with other male and female influencers.“
The Real Madrid and Wales international, who has amassed over 100 million followers on social media throughout his decorated playing career, plays off a handicap of two and has previously discussed his love for golf.
Bale, who is also a partner in the golf division at ICM Stellar Sports, said: „Golf is an amazing sport and it has always been an ambition of mine to encourage more people to take it up. This is a really exciting move by The R&A and I’m honoured to be able to play my part in their efforts to inspire people of all ages to give golf a try.“
The partnership builds on The R&A’s appointment of Modest! Golf to work on developing a series of future grassroots programmes aimed at inspiring more people into golf and retain them within the sport.
Horan, co-founder of Modest! Golf, said: „We are delighted to bring Gareth on board as Modest! Golf and I work closely with The R&A to reach new audiences and promote the game of golf. We look forward to more announcements this year.
Record numbers playing golf worldwide
Figures revealed by The R&A and Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS) at the end of 2021 showed golf has enjoyed a significant increase in popularity worldwide since 2016, with over five-and-a-half million additional golfers taking up the sport.
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The number of total golfers globally has increased from 61 million to 66.6 million in a five-year growth period, surpassing the previous high mark of 61.6 million set in 2012. The measure includes club members and non-member independent golfers playing nine or 18 holes and users of driving ranges in markets where course availability is limited.
Participation levels are now rising worldwide after a period of decline, with the research indicating the growth trend began before Covid-19 and then accelerated during the pandemic as the popularity of golf grew due to golfers being able to socially distance in a safe outdoor setting and stay active to boost their physical and mental health.
In Great Britain, the number of adults playing a nine or 18-hole course began to gradually increase before the onset of Covid-19, rising from 2.5 million in 2017 to 2.8 million in 2018, then to three million in 2019, before surging to 5.2 million in 2020.