Piloting a golf innovation district in North East England

New ideas, creativity, and innovation to encourage participation in golf


England Golf  has identified the importance of innovation to grow the game.

The Golf Innovation District programme aims to raise awareness of golf, enhance connections between clubs and facilities, and improve participation with a focus on underrepresented groups like women and juniors.

The pilot is focused on North East England. It is led by England Golf, the governing body for amateur golf in England.

A focus for the pilot is using data to better understand customers and how to appeal to them. It also reviewing the role of golf clubs as community hubs that can benefit their local area and encourage people to live active and healthy lifestyles.

Urban Foresight is the learning and evaluation partner for the full four years of the pilot programme.

Our initial task was to develop a Theory of Change model. We facilitated a collaborative workshop to co-design this model, which defines what the programme aims to achieve and how. The model will also guide the ongoing monitoring and evaluation activities.

Tools to collect monitoring and evaluation data were then developed to assess the impact of the programme. This included designing a survey for golf clubs to gather insights on their membership demographics, development goals and barriers to progress. An evaluation scorecard was also produced for England Golf representatives at each club in the pilot.

Training and support to use these tools was also provided to England Golf.

The programme is being reviewed on a yearly basis to understand what has been achieved, and provide recommendations to allow the roll-out to improve over time. We are also providing a final report at the end of the four year period to inform England Golf’s future work, and provide feedback to Sport England to shape their approach to place-based sport development in the future.


Image credit: Brenda Lai