2018-19 was the best year for Scottish golf clubs in years

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 27, 2020 06:59

Scottish golf clubs saw a sharp drop in the pace of membership decline before the pandemic started, according to new data.

Since golf courses in Scotland reopened at the end of May there has been a surge in memberships, but it wasn’t known until now that the decline of members in Scotland had come almost to a halt.

At Scottish Golf’s first ever virtual annual general meeting, featuring more than 100 delegates, it was revealed that a long-term decline in members at Scottish clubs has slowed significantly, with 500 fewer adult members at Scottish golf clubs during 2019, compared with a reduction of more than 5,500 from 2017 to 2018.

Between 2012 and 2018 the number of members of Scottish golf clubs dropped from about 210,000 to just over 180,000 – an average of nearly 5,000 a year.

This means 2018-19 was probably the best year for the Scottish golf industry in several years.

In addition, Scottish Golf chair, Eleanor Cannon explained that golf clubs have reported a jump in new membership applications since the end of May 2020.

Scottish Golf has been running a number of virtual meetings over the past three months

She said: “We are getting very positive feedback from lots of clubs which are dealing with membership applications on a scale they’ve not seen for years. We have heard of clubs that have had over 80 new membership applications in the past few weeks and that’s a very welcome trend we hope continues throughout the year.

“Many of those applications are from golfers who would otherwise play as visitors, but we have also received reports of new applications from people who visited golf courses for the first time to walk and exercise during the lockdown and have been encouraged to join by the friendly responses they received from existing members.”

The AGM also heard how Scottish Golf rebated £575,000 back to clubs across the country as the pandemic forced courses to close, helping them deal with the inevitable cash-flow hit from green fees and clubhouse takings.  In addition, a £40,000 emergency fund was established to help clubs which have been particularly badly affected by the impact of the lockdown restrictions.

She added that digital technology will play an increasingly crucial role in helping golfers and clubs in Scotland deal with the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

She concluded: “Lastly, I’d like to offer my sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones to Covid-19. Many clubs have lost valued members and friends to this disease in recent months and our thoughts go out to their families and friends.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 27, 2020 06:59
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1 Comment

  1. Mount Ellen's last visitor July 3, 10:40

    She seems to have quickly forgotten the members at Eastwood; Mount Ellen and Dollar who lost their clubs/courses in 2019 and the growing number of municipal courses that are under threat. The sense of loss was huge on the last day at Mount Ellen for example.

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