People in Golf - Phil Anderton


Appointed as Chief Development Officer at The R&A in August 2020, Phil Anderton, who is based at The R&A headquarters in St. Andrews, knows the home of golf well having graduated from the town’s University in 1988 with an MA in Management and International Relations. He is originally from Edinburgh.

His early career involved roles with Procter & Gamble and The Coca-Cola Company before he moved into high profile roles in Scottish and international sport. He was Chief Executive of both the Scottish Rugby Union and Heart of Midlothian Football Club; Chief Marketing Officer of the ATP Tour and Chairman of the ATP World Tour Finals; and Chief Executive of Al Jazira Sports Club in Abu Dhabi.

Anderton has a wealth of knowledge and experience of implementing and delivering on business strategy in sport. While at the ATP, he reviewed the golf industry’s work in growing participation at grassroots level to help inform tennis. More recently, he has run his own consultancy businesses.

Golf has also been a lifetime interest for Anderton, both as a fan and as a keen player. He is a member at Gullane and plays to a handicap of 12.

THE #FOREeveryone Initiative:

#FOREeveryone is a campaign, led by The R&A and supported by the national associations in Great Britain and Ireland (GB&) and The PGA, that has been launched nationwide to excite, educate and encourage more women and girls to get into golf, whether new to the sport or returning, by showcasing the sport and providing practical advice on how anyone can get started.

#FOREeveryone seeks to challenge some of the stereotypes around golf and show it is a welcoming and enjoyable pastime and career for people of all ages and genders.

#FOREeveryone highlights the many benefits of playing golf, including the opportunities to improve physical and mental health, spend time with friends and family, or the simple thrill of competition, while challenging unhelpful misconceptions that non-golfers have about the sport, to help safeguard the game for the future.

What was the genesis for the #FOREeveryone initiative?

Following the launch of the Women in Golf Charter, which seeks to inspire an industry wide commitment to develop a more inclusive culture within golf and enable more women and girls to get involved in the sport, #FOREeveryone was created to both support the Charter and provide a single message which the industry can unite behind and through which new and returning golfers can engage, helping to safeguard the game for the future.

What specific resources will The R&A bring to the programme?

Given the two strands of the #FOREeveyone campaign, one industry (clubs) facing and one consumer, we’ve developed a wide variety of resources for both audiences.

For industry organisations, a substantial toolkit resource has been distributed, designed to provide guidance on operational and marketing improvements to help attract more women and girls to the sport, along with supporting print and digital resources, to help clubs plan their own activity.

And then for consumers, we’ve developed a dedicated microsite which houses continually updated content created to inspire women and girls to either try golf for the first time or get back into the sport. The site also provides information on the first steps to doing so. Supporting this content hub, we have social media content and a robust advertising plan to help raise awareness for the campaign.

Outside of the specific campaign resources, we’re also available to answer any questions and provide further guidance to clubs, organisations and golfers as needed, along with the support of the national golf associations including England Golf, Golf Ireland, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf and The PGA.

Are any other major golf companies, groups and individuals within the UK involved and if so, how will they be integrated with the overall effort?

We’ve seen fantastic support from across the industry; from major equipment and apparel manufacturers, venues, National Associations, and high-profile individuals within golf.

As well as providing greater exposure for the campaign, lots of major organisations within the UK have also signed up to the Women in Golf Charter, committing to real changes that will make the sport as a whole more welcoming to women and girls, both as a pastime and a career.

Why do you think past efforts in expanding the game to non-golfers has had limited success?

Expanding the game to non-golfers is a difficult task and one that requires continual work, it’s something that won’t happen overnight. However, #FOREeveryone is designed for long term impact, by speaking to the industry and consumers we feel it’s laid a great foundation to build from as this campaign and future initiatives develop.

Golf is still a game of financial means — how do you see this critical barrier breached or mitigated, especially for minorities and those with limited access to traditional 18-hole facilities?

We have seen a real surge in the number of golfers in Great Britain and Ireland playing the sport over the past year. Total adult golfers on a full-length course - 9 or 18 hole - increased significantly by 2.1 million players to 5.2 million – the highest figure recorded this century and of these golfers, 36% identified as returning or new golfers – with 16% of players starting or trying golf for the first time because of the pandemic. There is a lot of good work being done around the world to encourage people of all ages and abilities to take up golf. This has included golf clubs offering more flexible and affordable membership options for new and existing golfers; and national associations running junior participation programs in both schools and clubs to give youngsters a chance to experience the sport without the costs associated with membership. 

There will always be a certain amount of cost associated with golf - purchasing clubs, balls etc., - but we have to work to ensure there are affordable places to play for young people in particular.

The R&A is re-developing a golf facility in Glasgow which we hope will act as a blueprint for a modern golf facility that is family focused, diverse and affordable which creates an accessible pathway into golf.

The pandemic has seen a spike in people playing the game and overall rounds are up - but is that boost temporary and how do you see #FOREeverone building upon the momentum for a sustained long-term improvement?

We have seen a real surge in interest in golf since the pandemic as it is a sport which has demonstrated significant health and wellbeing benefits. It is the golf industries job now to seize on this opportunity, to maintain the heightened interest in golf and give people a compelling reason to continue playing golf.

#FOREeveryone provides golf facilities with the resources to do just that. By equipping golf clubs and venues with the tools they need to make changes internally and attract new and returning female golfers, as well as the marketing activity in place to speak to this audience, we see #FOREeveryone as building a more inclusive environment, while also driving demand for the sport.

 From a marketing perspective what tools will The R&A specifically be using and what role will social media play in ramping up overall awareness?

To reach the large and varied audience we’re aiming to speak to with this campaign, covering both new and lapsed golfers, we’ve employed an equally varied set of marketing tactics. 

We see social media and our own produced content as key ways of reaching prospective golfers in particular, and so we’ve created specific content for our social platforms, as well as longer form content for use on the microsite, as an important means of storytelling around the changes happening within golf and the positive experiences of women and girls.

Will any professional golfers of note - both male and female - be involved with the program and if so, what involvements will there be?

Role models within sport are incredibly important and we will see 144 incredible golfers compete at the AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie this week.

The R&A appointed Georgia Hall as it’s women and girls ambassador – we believe Georgia is an incredible role model who demonstrates what is achievable if you are dedicated to success but even more importantly that you can have fun and enjoy the process.When we launched the campaign and, in the months, following, we have seen a great deal of support from a number of the professional players and other high-profile celebrities.

One of the primary anchors holding back golf is the amount of time needed to play the game given the time crunch all people face. How will #FOREeveryone deal with this crucial impediment?

One of the points covered in the materials designed for golf clubs and venues, is the need to make time on the course as accessible as possible for women and girls and being conscious of their time pressures. This includes advertising shorter forms of golf, ensuring that there are weekend activities planned for those who work full-time, or scheduling activities after school hours, which might be more convenient for mothers and younger girls. 

Overall, the message of the campaign is to try to be as flexible as possible to accommodate the busy lives everyone has. After all, golf brings with it many health benefits, including being outside in the fresh air, so we really want to encourage everyone to get out and enjoy the sport, whenever time may allow.

How will you effectively measure actions taken in order to assess meaningful progress is being made?

We will be constantly monitoring the gender splits within memberships in the coming months and years, but also importantly the number of women and girls taking part in lessons and taster sessions whether group or individual, amongst other activities aimed at increasing inclusivity and participation. 

As mentioned before, this is a campaign we hope will have lasting affects for years to come and so we’re taking a similarly long-term view on measuring results.

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