New poll highlights how attractive golf is during a pandemic

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 15, 2020 06:32

A poll of golfers across the United States, Canada and the UK has found that the surge in new members this summer has been driven by a desire for wellbeing.

In the US rounds of golf were up 19.7 percent year-on-year in July, marking the biggest increase in a summer month since the data was first tracked in 2000.

The UK has seen the biggest spike in golf participation in the world, with English clubs alone seeing an increase of 20,000 members just from mid-May to mid-August.

Most of the new members say they intend to renew next year.

The Syngenta poll of 250 people found that more than half (55 percent) of people who joined a golf club this year cited ‘mental wellbeing’ as their primary reason for joining.

This was the most cited reason for joining, while physical wellbeing (38 percent) and social wellbeing (31 percent) came third and fourth respectively.

Sporting challenge (50 percent) was the second most common reason why someone joined a golf club – and with so many sporting opportunities curtailed due to the pandemic, this was almost certainly a direct result of Covid-19 as well.

Just 12 percent of respondents said they joined a club to participate in club competitions.

The poll follows the publication of the article ‘The new value of golf’s green spaces’, highlighting the stress-relieving benefits of golf and golf courses.

In the article, environmental psychologist Professor Jenny Roe of the University of Virginia, explains: “Contact with nature slows down our stress response and induces calm.

“It is promoting stress resilience, it is improving our mood, it’s decreasing our risk of depression and increasing our social wellbeing, particularly on a golf course where you are interacting with other members of that community.”

Scientific research published in 2019 has also indicated spending at least two hours per week in nature is good for health and wellbeing.

Syngenta’s Mark Birchmore said: “This is a simple, snapshot survey with a small sample, but it gives an indication of some of the reasons people have joined golf clubs in recent months and suggests further research into golf and mental welling would be worthwhile.

“While the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted issues of stress in day-to-day life, the reality is that the experience of spending time in nature on a golf course has always been one of the sport’s key benefits – it’s just rarely communicated as a marketing message. But it is something clubs might consider as it could be an important factor in the value proposition for golf and club membership.”

The poll also comes just days after an international research study found evidence to suggest that golf provided improved muscle strength and balance in elderly participants.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 15, 2020 06:32
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  1. L Parry October 16, 11:43

    A very good read and couldn’t agree more.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Peter October 15, 16:24

    If true, a good thing!! Sadly, some equate well being with going outside !!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Michelle October 15, 11:03

    Great that golf and well-being is so connected in golfers minds. We aim to embrace this and expand awareness of overall skin health – ensuring golfers are getting every last benefit from their association with the sport. It’s all positive and nourishing for the industry and not a jot too late.

    Reply to this comment
    • Lloyd October 16, 08:22

      Absolutely Michelle, the golfing industry must take advantage of how people are reacting to golf at the present moment!

      Reply to this comment
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