An evaluation of the relationships between golfer characteristics, golfer behaviours and destination selection

Humphreys, C. (2013) An evaluation of the relationships between golfer characteristics, golfer behaviours and destination selection. Ph.D. thesis, University of Kent.


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Sports tourism has received growing attention in academic research over the past two decades but limited focus has been given to understanding the consumer and factors influencing decisions to include sport as part of the trip. This research provides, through a focus on the sport of golf, insight into the characteristics of the sports tourist, how participation is included in trips, how the emotional rewards gained from participation can influence sports tourist behaviours, and thus influence the selection of locations deemed suitable for sports participation. Specifically the aim of this thesis is to evaluate the relationships between golfer characteristics, golfer behaviours and destination choice.

The research employs a grounded theory methodology, underpinned by a constructivist epistemology. This informed the process used to gather and analyse data as well as the presentation of this thesis. Three iterations of data (presented as discrete chapters) provide a robust analysis of literature and the twenty-seven interviews with UK-based golf tourists.

Analysis elucidated the golfer characteristics, concluding with the development of a golf tourism participation spectrum. This understanding of the golf tourist informed the development of a substantive theory explaining the relationship between golf tourist behaviours and destination selection. A model detailing that the relationship is constructed through six conceptual strands (construction of the golf holiday, emotional rewards of participation, total trip spend, amenities and support facilities, course characteristics and influences of reputation). The first four of these strands directly influences golfer behaviour, with the latter two strands combining with behaviour to determine destination selection. Significant to the substantive theory is the identification of four spheres of influence (group dynamics, the role of competitions and ability, golfing capital and the role of intermediaries) which interact with the conceptual strands to govern destination selection.

This thesis concludes by proposing a model which considers the findings in relation to the wider sport tourism sector.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General) > G0149 Travel. Voyages and travels (General) > G0155 Tourism
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV0557 Sports > GV0861 Ball games > GV0965 Golf
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Hudson
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2015 09:47
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2016 19:09

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00