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2020 vision for golf by Sport England

Golf has won the government's backing in a new development initiative funded by Sport England, as one of the nation's top ten sports.

Under the umbrella of the England Golf Partnership, three major governing bodies have joined forces to form a unique partnership that will be responsible for taking the game to a new level by 2020.

This is the first time that The Professional Golfers' Association (PGA), English Golf Union (EGU) and English Ladies Golf Association (ELGA) have come together in such a way, and will be working in conjunction with Sport England to maximize opportunities and meet the challenges facing the game.

This exciting new joint venture is solely concerned with the development of a national Sport Plan for golf, and aims to communicate more effectively throughout the game with 'one voice'.

Heading the new venture as chairman is Norman Fletcher, deputy chief executive of the PGA who has been appointed by the English Golf Partnership to develop 'The Vision for Golf in England '. In order to fulfill this extensive and time-consuming new role Norman has been seconded to the position since April on the basis of three days a week until the end of the year.

As he explained: "2004 sees the start of a new era for golf in England and the chance to increase and widen participation levels in the game. We are in the process of developing a vision for golf and the strategy which will make that vision a reality.

"It is our intention to create a framework that other nations will follow, but this can only succeed through a joined-up strategic approach and with consultation and dialogue with all of golf's stakeholders."

The main thrust of the campaign will be focused on providing more opportunities and reasons for participants to start, stay and succeed in the game. Extensive research will be commissioned to provide critical benchmarking data from which to evaluate future activities and targets.

The whole of the game will be scrutinized and address such issues as its image and the need for golf to be seen as 'cool', to establishing innovative solutions which increase participation and overcome its perception as expensive and time consuming. The values of club membership will also be included in the plan in view of the growing number of 'clubless' players.

In terms of timing, details of the framework for the Vision are expected to be finalised and available within the next two months with the publication of the Sport Plan for Golf at the end of the year.

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