Here’s the top three things I learnt about the golf industry in July 2019

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 30, 2019 10:30 Updated

From an outstanding Open Championship to the appointment of a 32-year-old to manage Sunningdale, July 2019 will not be a month in the industry that will be forgotten quickly, as The Golf Business editor Alistair Dunsmuir details:

Wilma Erskine deserves an amazing retirement

The secretary-manager of Royal Portrush, who will retire this autumn, played a major role in the club delivering an Open Championship that has been widely praised as being good for the game and Northern Ireland in general, but it’s been the club’s turnaround that she played a central role in achieving that is perhaps the most remarkable.

A year after she began the job, in 1985, the club took £36,000 in green fees and foreign golfing groups were so rare that they would ask what day can play.

Last year the club brought in £2.2 million in green fees and the venue is now so desirable that those same groups ask: ‘Which year can we play?’

Royal Portrush’s manager to retire this autumn

Golf club managers are still getting younger

We’ve reported on three appointments in the last month, including at the prestigious Sunningdale, and the oldest of the three is just 34-years-old.

Factor in other stories such as West Essex Golf Club appointing 23-year-old James Levick as its new manager last year, and it’s clear that the average golf club manager’s age profile is significantly lower than it was a generation ago.

Your driving range could be your key to significant growth

There are three Topgolf centres in the UK, featuring food, beverage, music, large screens broadcasting sport and driving range bays linked to technology that offer golf lessons and fun games including via corporate and social events. They’re packed most nights and the company behind them wants to build as many as another 15 in the UK.

And now they have a rival – BigShots Golf, which was launched in the USA just two years ago and is hoping to come to Wallsend Golf Club, which is set to embark on a £12.5 million project where, at its heart, a driving range will be constructed that provides state-of-the-art virtual reality digital technology.

For some clubs, this could be their future.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 30, 2019 10:30 Updated
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