This research note argues that while golf is perhaps the most socially pervasive of games on a global scale, its social contours have been ignored by academic analysts. The paper isolates three themes as being likely avenues for further investigation: environmental issues, the internationalization of golf and its economy, and social access to participation. By virtue of its heavy demands on natural resources of land and water, golf is rapidly becoming an environmental issue. International economic patterns are altering traditional golf participation patterns, course ownership, and equipment production. Then, the predicted 1990s golf boom may occur among social groups previously untouched by the game, again with implications for its social contexting. In each of these three themes there are clear overlaps and social interlocking that render golf an excellent research site for many of the issues in sport sociology.
Brian Stoddart is with the Centre for Sports Studies, University of Canberra, P.O. Box 1, Belconnen ACT 2616, Australia.