Golf participation significantly up for first half of 2019

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 7, 2019 06:17

New data suggests that the number of rounds of golf played at UK golf courses in the fist half of 2019 was up significantly compared to the same six months in 2018.

The number of rounds played is widely considered to be the best indication of the strength of the golf industry, and, according to SMS INC’s director, sports accounts, Richard Payne, the figures from the first quarter are up by a huge amount – more than 30 per cent on the previous year and the highest figure for seven years.

“Our usual barometer for ongoing performance is our ‘Rounds Played Monitor’ – basically the ‘bums-on-seat’ measurement for courses around the country,” he said, “and I can report that Q1 2019 saw the best average rounds played for seven years; an increase of over 30 per cent against what was quite a catastrophic Q1 in 2018. Early indications would suggest that we are about eight per cent up in Q2.

“Our 2018 ‘GB Golf’ participation research also saw a resurgence in numbers following six years of continual decline with numbers returning to the levels seen back in 2016 and closing back to the three million mark of full length course users. Importantly, core golfers have also increased with the number of avid golfers, those who play at least weekly, actually having grown to pre-2015 levels of over 450,000.

“What does this mean? Well in our view this shows that there is real momentum in our sport at the moment and with initiatives such as the GolfSixes linking the professional game through the European Tour and the amateur game with England Golf and the Golf Foundation or the R&A’s Women In Golf Charter – or even enhancing and gamifying the range experience with technology such as TopTracer, there is a genuine opportunity to widen golf’s appeal and ensure its continued health now and in the future.

John Bushell, managing director of SMS INC, added that the number of people in Great Britain and Ireland who had some sort of involvement with golf, including playing on 18-hole, nine-hole, pitch-and-putt, adventure golf and footgolf courses, and driving range usage is now 12.2 million adults per year, a figure that is also going upwards’

“An important measure, and an opportunity, when asked ‘who have you introduced to golf’ – male golfers introducing their daughter to golf were 13 per cent,” he said.

“Whereas male golfers introducing their sons was eleven percentage points more at 24 per cent. We need male golfers to introduce their daughters to the game in the same percentage levels for us to really achieve the aims of ‘family golf’.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 7, 2019 06:17
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  1. Pete USA August 8, 11:27

    Could it be smaller courses and quicker play creating the growth?

    Reply to this comment
  2. Mark August 5, 17:13

    Great news in the industry we need to keep pushing, but golf is moving in the right direction

    Reply to this comment
  3. Andrew August 5, 12:06

    Some big percentage Improvements here, maybe a turning of the tide?

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