An overwhelming number of British club golfers believe their sport doesn't receive the coverage it deserves from national newspapers, according to a poll taken by HowDidiDo, Europe's largest golfing community.
A staggering 98 per cent of respondents to the poll on the HowDidiDo website voiced their displeasure and felt golf was not a priority for the national sporting press. Football dominates the thoughts of those on national sports desks, according to 97 per cent of club golfers.
Only two per cent believed the national media put any import in golf, with one per cent believing tennis was regarded as a priority by the newspaper industry.
And, when golf is covered by national newspapers, only 16 per cent of respondents felt the coverage was good or better. More than half (53 per cent) of the people replying believed golf reporting was below average or worse.
The findings do not read well for the national press, but at least the Telegraph and Mail newspaper groups can take some consolation from the fact that, when golf is afforded the column inches it merits, they are regarded as providing the best coverage.
Thirty per cent of respondents believed the Daily and Sunday Telegraph provided the best golf coverage with 20 per cent opting for the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday. Tabloids fared particularly badly, with the Daily and Sunday Express, Daily and Sunday Mirror and the Daily Star accounting for just 11 per cent of the votes between them.
The nation's biggest-selling daily newspaper, The Sun, received only 10 per cent of the vote, three per cent behind The Times.
There are arguably few better websites from which to take an accurate sample of golfing opinion. HowDidiDo boasts a membership of more than 370,000 golfers - all golf club members - and contains a database of handicaps, results and scores for in excess of 1.3m men and women.
HowDidiDo's managing director, Barry Dyett, said: "We were not surprised to learn that most club golfers believe that football is the be all and end all for the national media. It's almost always a Premier League story which dominates the back pages these days.
"It's probably more of a surprise to see just which papers our members - all paid-up club golfers remember - believe give the sport the best coverage when it does feature. Obviously, golf gains more prominence at times of the Open, the Masters and the Ryder Cup, but it's still the middle-class newspapers that dominate.
"Does this suggest that tabloid editors believe their readership does not play or has no interest in golf? You'd have to ask them that, but, if so, it's a pretty anachronistic view. There are an estimated four million golfers in this country and not all of them read the Telegraph or the Mail. I think they're missing a trick here…"
Standard membership to HowDidiDo is free and the plethora of statistics available allows any golfer to analyse and compare performance with other players at their own club or across the network. During 2011, the site received more than 60 million page views.
Registration to HowDidiDo is required to check handicap lists or competition results, but it remains a free service to any golf club whose administrators use CLUB2000 software from Club Systems International, which is in place at around 2,000 UK clubs. Nearly 1,800 golf clubs currently use the HowDidiDo site and the service welcomes new members daily.
Registration to HowDidiDo is required to check handicap lists or competition results, but it remains a free service to any golf club whose administrators use CLUB2000 software from Club Systems International, which is in place at around 2,000 UK clubs. More than 1,800 golf clubs currently use the HowDidiDo site and the service welcomes new members daily.