Here’s 3 major issues we discussed in April 2018

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu April 27, 2018 13:10

From changing driving distances to a participation rate slump, The Golf Business editor Alistair Dunsmuir explores three issues that have emerged from some of our stories this month

There’s now a demand for both shorter AND longer golf courses

It’s well-known that women are under-represented in golf clubs and a major way to accommodate women is to have shorter golf courses. Which means the latest news that average driving distances are rapidly increasing is not welcome.

As The R&A states: “Increases in distance can contribute to demands for longer, tougher and more resource-intensive golf courses at all levels of the game. These trends can impact the costs to operate golf courses. This level of increase is concerning.”

Rapid increase in driving distance is ‘concerning’

Is it time to stop comparing participation rates with the previous year?

The latest data about participation is awful – the three months from October to December 2017 saw a fall by more than 11 per cent with the previous year, while January to March 2018 was down 22 per cent, possibly the biggest slump in one year since data was first recorded.

The problem with these comparisons is they do not take into account extreme weather patterns in one three-month period – trends over five to 20 years might also bring bad news, but they could be a more useful barometer to gauge what’s really happening.


The potential importance of Royal Dornoch’s project should not be overblown

This year The R&A, the STRI and several golf courses have all expressed concern that UK links courses are under threat from coastal erosion – to the extent that none might even exist in just 80 years.

Royal Dornoch Golf Club’s 10th fairway on the Struie Course has been under attack from the sea, so the club is providing £10,000 a year for three years towards a pioneering project that will transplant hundreds of greenhouse-grown native saltmarsh plants to help restore natural defences.

The theory is that saltmarsh can protect coastal land from flooding and erosion. If the project is a success, this could be the solution to safeguarding the future of some of the world’s most prized golf courses.

Pioneering golf project to stop coastal erosion


Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu April 27, 2018 13:10
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