Golf participation has more than doubled in the last year

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 13, 2020 15:48

New data on the surge of golf participation in the UK and Ireland in 2020 has found that the number of rounds booked online in September doubled from 2019’s figures.

There had been fears in May and June that the extraordinary growth would quickly slow down but data in August found that the growth had increased, and this has carried on until at least the end of September.

According to GolfNow, which operates the largest online tee-time marketplace in the world, the number of rounds booked online in September 2020 was up by 97 percent compared with September 2019 and the number of golfers booking them was up by more than 100 percent.

“As overall golf participation and memberships continue to skyrocket in 2020, GolfNow is reporting a similar surge in rounds booked on its platform throughout the UK and Ireland,” said GolfNow spokesman Dan Higgins.

“On the heels of its best summer in company history, GolfNow set more records in September, highlighted by a 97 percent year-over-year increase in online rounds at golf courses on its various platforms. This was a milestone that also contributed to more than a 113-percent increase in total revenue generated for its partner golf courses.

“This growth spurt has been characterised by new customers, as well as golfers who are returning to the game. In fact, September performance relative to new golfers booking via GolfNow was up 184 percent, with the number of returning golfers who booked online up slightly over August.”

The number of golfers who booked on GolfNow in September increased 101 percent year-on-year, he added, and golf courses accepting visitor play earned, on average, more than £1,300 via rounds facilitated by GolfNow in September, alone.

“GolfNow technology has made these interactions convenient, with 24/7 access that is more seamless, safer and efficient, not only for the golf course but also for the golfer,” stated Higgins.

“As the Covid-19 pandemic and golfer concerns over safety persist, booking behaviour has recently shifted more toward digital. And as golf courses continue to operate with fewer employees with less time to take reservations by telephone, booking online has become an easier and more convenient option. This recent data demonstrates how technology is improving the connection between golf courses and golfers, as well as creating improved ways for golf courses to conduct business.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 13, 2020 15:48
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  1. JWebb October 19, 11:11

    It’s great to see the support for the game growing, in particular #family participation. The pandemic has definitely not just made people rethink how they should do business, but also their lifestyle #livingthedream #lifeworthliving #healthyliving

    Reply to this comment
  2. D Thomas October 14, 16:45

    BUT, as you could not just turn up and play, that means that side of golf fell by 100% – just mentioning!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Sheffield October 14, 15:05

    Jerry is correct – great to see increased memberships, but the extra play is largely down to frequency from current golfers. In US we locked down course to Member only play for safety – no guests, no outings, no friends and saw 30% total roundage increase

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  4. RP October 14, 13:57

    Not a great lover of golf, the best thing I’ve seen done to a golf course in the middle of TT week on the Isle of Man they used to hold a mid-week evening scramble on the old Douglas one. Looking at many of the golf courses scattered around the UK perhaps this could be a better use of them.

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  5. Jerry October 14, 12:34

    The number of rounds played neither indicates that the golf industry is in great shape, nor that we have solved our problems. Many club members are playing much more golf than they did over the same period last year, as furlough and home working has given them more time to play. Some club managers are telling me that they have members playing 6 times a week, when last year they may have played 3 or 4 times a week. We still need to attract new golfers into our sport.

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  6. Alex W October 14, 12:09

    Will be interesting to keep the members (new and existing) happy with far fewer tee times on offer as it gets colder and darker….

    Reply to this comment
  7. Enda October 14, 07:43

    A small word of caution in this. Prior to Covid many Clubs now using an online booking platform did not use one and even those that did did not have them used by their membership all of the time. The custom and practice of wandering out to the club on a evening after work was in most cases unrecorded prior to Covid as now all rounds are recorded to assist with contact tracing. Still a great year for golf but you need to analyze and understand your data to make the best use of it.

    Reply to this comment
    • Brian T October 14, 12:11

      I agree Enda. Some Golf clubs also picked up a significant amount of new members on special deals and others joined because their main sport/hobby was unavailable to them . It will be interesting to see how many keep it up in 2021.

      Reply to this comment
  8. AK October 14, 03:33

    Very much impressive

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