Golf has an almost unique perception of safety

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 23, 2020 16:19

A new survey of nearly 1,500 golfers has found that golf has an almost unique perception of safety during the pandemic – and golfers are likely to play more but spend less money than normal in the months ahead.

Tyrrells Wood Golf Club. Image from Twitter

Sports Marketing Surveys interviewed the golfers from all regions across the UK, including both sexes, both members and non-members of clubs and a range of age groups and golfing abilities.

It found that golfers feel that the sport is extremely safe with 76 percent of respondents rating the safety of playing golf within social distancing guidelines as either 9 or 10 out of 10.

Incredibly, just four percent feel the same (9/10 out of 10) about team sports, three percent for going to the gym and five percent for dining out. Even meeting family and friends in person only saw 29 percent of the sample rate safety as at least 9 out of 10.

Gilroy Golf Course. Image from Facebook

Nearly half of golfers (45 percent) said they will try to encourage more of their family to play golf in a post Covid-19 world, if that will exist.

In more good news for the industry, over a third of golfers believe they will play more at their golf club this year than in 2019, and over 50 percent anticipate buying more from their local pro than they did before the lockdown.

Less than half of golfers believe it will be safe to travel abroad for a golf break before April 2021, but three in five golfers believe it will be safe to travel domestically by the end of 2020, suggesting that golfers who would normally travel abroad to play will instead visit courses in the UK over the next few months.

Planned trips in 2021

However, not all the data is positive.

Over a third of golfers stated that they are less likely to visit other golf courses and pay a green fee.

And nearly a third of respondents (31 percent) say that they will have less disposable income to spend on golf in the future and a quarter expect to buy fewer golf products.

The survey also found that during the lockdown golfers were still actively engaged with the sport and explored different avenues to get their ‘fix’.

Forty percent are still practicing golf at home more than they were before the virus and over 30 percent of golfers are watching more golf content on YouTube as a result of the lockdown, with almost a quarter having followed more golf blogs. The most common viewed golfing videos during the lockdown by golfers were of golf tuition. Just over a quarter of golfers stated that they would be interested in having virtual lessons in the future.

Other results included that over 60 percent of golf club members stated that they missed the “competition” involved in golf compared to only 18 percent of independent golfers, and female golfers and younger respondents were more likely to state that they have missed “being in the fresh air” as the element of the sport they miss.


Coronavirus will also have little impact on the number of golf lessons being taken for the remainder of 2020 with half of the sample stating they will have the same number as in 2019 and a similar percentage intending to have more lessons as there are planning to reduce the number.

Of those reducing the amount of golf activity they are planning on doing in 2020, social distancing is the primary factor with almost three times as many individuals (70 percent) selecting this as the reason compared to price/cost or any other reason.

Perceived future clubhouse usage will not change much as a result of coronavirus. Over half of the sample believe they will use the clubhouse and other facilities, such as the halfway house, as often as they did previously and there are as many who say they plan to use them more often as there are who will reduce their usage.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 23, 2020 16:19
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  1. Rocker Ronnie June 22, 18:12

    That’s in UK what about here in North America?

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  2. Michael G June 21, 12:41

    Some really interesting stats here about the perceived safety of golf. There has been a big increase in the participation in golf. With very few alternatives to spend time with clients in a safe environment we are seeing big interest in corporate golf for the back end of the summer. If anyone would like further details of how we are running safe corporate golf events then please drop me a message. #staysafe #golf

    Reply to this comment
  3. Steve C June 21, 12:34

    Interesting as at the moment they are spending as orders are strong for hardware . Let’s hope it continues

    Reply to this comment
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