‘Golf clubs have an incredible opportunity’ 

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick September 13, 2020 07:36

The chief executive of The R&A, Martin Slumbers, has said the surge in demand to play golf in the UK since May has provided an opportunity for golf clubs to secure their futures.

He urged clubs to continue modernising and not become complacent about the recent growth.

“Participation levels in the UK for the quarter are already back level with those of July 2019, despite the fact that we had one month when the numbers went down 100 per cent,” he said.

“I think we have done a really good job of portraying golf as good for your health, good for your mind, and a sport that you can do in a socially distant and responsible way.

Martin Slumbers

“There’s always been a lot of sport lovers, but if you love team sports, whether you watch or play, that’s going to be a challenge for the foreseeable future, and they are turning to golf.

“Our real challenge now is to make it sustainable. You have heard me talk about people will join golf clubs when golf clubs are selling the product that people want to buy. We’ve still got to do that, and we’ve still got to keep changing and we’ve still got to keep being modern and relevant.”

He continued: “This could be a real opportunity for the game, if we can grasp it and start showing the game in a positive way. I think that there’s going to be a huge amount more debate about the need for health and the need for mental well-being out of this. It’s been an extraordinary five or six months, and I think golf is right up there. I intend to use my efforts to maximise the value.”


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick September 13, 2020 07:36
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  1. CB September 25, 11:22

    Absolute nonsense, the worst of this has yet to come, because a few more people are playing isn’t a reflection of true shortfall in membership payments, loss of catering and bar income, and importantly existing operating models reliant on society golf are shot to pieces.

    This isn’t an opportunity it is massive threat to the ongoing viability of private golf courses in the UK.

    Private courses are now more akin to a municipals being overplayed and struggling with maintenance. Seven minute booked tee times and 4 hour rounds with course Marshall’s is a miserable premonition of what private golf is going to become to survive.

    Reply to this comment
  2. JD September 20, 14:28

    It’s a gift….don’t blow it. We’re in the entertainment business and need to look after them all. An emotional bond to the club makes renewal a no brainer.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Oldham September 17, 12:02

    Its really amazing decades of trying loads of things to grow the game or even stand still, millions spent and solution given to us. Lets not lose the opportunity, lets keep trying to make more accessible to all and change the way we sell, play , manage because as quick as it has grown it could all go away.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Popp September 15, 11:09

    How do operators thread fun across the golf membership experience? That is the Golden Ticket.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Griffin September 14, 11:43

    I agree, but Private Members clubs need to embrace change! Here is my Covid Golf Recover Plan;

    Have a 50 / 20/ 10 year business plan, define a strategy for where will they be…

    Research millennials – understand their likes, needs and whats…adapt dress code and attitudes..

    Make Women Welcome! MWW – play anytime and ensure 50/50 split on club committees….

    Free junior lessons on Sat am’s, fund the Pro, invest in your local community and club future…

    Reply to this comment
  6. Jo C September 14, 11:09

    Retention will be key

    Reply to this comment
    • Pete USA September 17, 11:52

      Address Economy, Efficiency & Enjoyment of play….the 3E future of the game…if you want appeal and innovation in the modern era.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Mike D September 13, 20:32

    So many things are experiencing a surge because nothing else is possible (like Zoom…). Our responsibility is to capture these current users and maintain their attention when other options become available again.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Killip September 13, 20:06

    Looking forward to seeing the Claret Jug here in Sandwich next July!

    Reply to this comment
  9. AM September 13, 19:41

    The big question is can the industry innovate fast enough to retain the new customers and new golfers?

    Reply to this comment
  10. Peter September 13, 18:55

    Let’s hope so !! To have success long range, operators really need a clear picture of the business they’re in !! Their value proposition ! Necessary for proper relationship building and long term success !! We also must be moving people up the satisfaction and loyalty ladders !

    Reply to this comment
  11. PG September 13, 12:56

    I believe it’s a unique opportunity for modern forward thinking clubs.

    Reply to this comment
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