Four of the leading sports trade associations have partnered to complete the largest online study of sports participation in the United States. This year’s study has been done as a joint effort of the newly formed USA Sports Participation Study, a collaboration of sports associations that have been doing participation research separately for a number of years: Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, National Golf Foundation, Snowsports Industries America and the Outdoor Industry Foundation.

NGF began conducting golf participation research with Synovate (formerly Market Facts) in 1986 and has been doing so ever since. The 2007 research was conducted via the Internet, after many years of fielding via mail surveys. This year’s sample of 60,000 individual surveys is the largest NGF has ever conducted, and was made possible by joining the partnership.

“We are very pleased to be working with SGMA, SIA and OIF in this landmark sports participation study,” says Joe Beditz, president and CEO of NGF. “The advantages include a consistent methodology between the partners and a larger sample size allowing for higher resolution of data. Another advantage is our ability to present cross-participation, or the extent to which golfers participate in other fitness and sports activities.”

Plans call for 60,000 more surveys to be added each year so that, as time goes by, the study will yield the largest and most useful database of golf participation, enabling analysis at ever smaller levels of geography.

As in the past, NGF has the ability to recontact specific groups of golf participants such as frequent golfers, females, juniors, lapsed players, etc. for follow-up research.