This September we are experiencing two of the most relevant events in world golf. On the one hand the Solheim Cup just held in the Inverness Club of Toledo (Ohio), and on the other the Ryder cup that is disputed in Whistlings Straits (Wisconsin). These are two competitions, the first for women and the second for men, which face each other every two years. USA and Europe.
It is the second time in history that these two appointments coincide in the same year after the 2002 edition, when the 11S forced to delay a year the Ryder of 2001. This time the pandemic Covid-19 He moved the Ryder from 2020 to this year and returns to coincide with the Solheim that since 2003 was played in odd-numbered years.
In this way, the two largest team shows in world golf, with significant Spanish participation, met in September and this represents a new source of information on golf. Communication about golf has grown in Spain at the rate of the evolution of this sport in our country. If in 1990 there were 45,000 players, today there are more than 270,000, according to the licensing data reflected by the Royal Spanish Golf Federation.
The successes of Severiano Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazábal, Sergio garcia, and more recently those of Jon rahm, current number one in the world, have helped a lot in the dissemination of this sport, as well as the victories of great golfers such as Miguel Angel Jimenez, Carlota Ciganda or Azahara Munoz. Also, the fact that golf returned to being an Olympic sport in 2016 and 2020 more than 100 years later motivates greater attention from the press.
It is evident that the presence of players like Jon Rahm stimulates the publication of his achievements and the monitoring of the competitions in which he participates. According to a study published this year in the Index Communication magazine, at Spanish Open In 2018, where Jon Rahm achieved his first victory in this competition, the Spanish press published 240 percent more pages than in the previous edition, that of 2016.
Together with this stimulus from the presence of great Spanish players around the world, tourism and the enormous relationships between golf and this industry make the communication of golf more and more intense. A study of IE University claimed in 2020 that Spain receives 1.2 million golf tourists per year (regardless of the restrictions due to Covid-19), and the direct impact generated by this industry is 5,418 million euros.
These data and the good harvest of golfers in our country should provoke greater attention to events related to golf, especially when the countdown to Solheim 2023, which will be held in Spain in 2023, has already begun. Finca Cortesín, Malaga, and whose estimated economic impact is more than 200 million euros.
The celebration of the Solheim and the Ryder this September help by themselves to promote the follow-up of these exciting tournaments, but they can also serve as an incentive to the Spanish press to reinforce the communication of golf as a sports, economic and social sector of special relevance, something that many media have already discovered and are dedicating more and more efforts.
It is what the Chair of Communication and Golf at the Complutense University of Madrid and the Royal Spanish Golf Federation, created in 2020 precisely for this purpose to analyze and stimulate golf communication, and which in this first year has been able to accelerate this process with numerous multidisciplinary activities that also bring this sport to the Academy.
*** Fernando Peinado and Miguel He is co-director of the UCM-RFEG Chair ‘Communication and Golf’.