Here’s three developments in January that the golf industry has been talking about

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 29, 2021 06:02

January has been a month dominated by Covid lockdowns and talk of handicaps for golfers who are not members of golf clubs.

A debate is ensuing over whether clubs should offer financial support to their members

This started last March when many clubs feared they would not reopen following the original lockdown, as their members might not renew subscriptions.

As it happens, most clubs subsequently experienced a surge in memberships.

But following a January in which most golf clubs were closed due to Covid-19, some are calling for clubs to support members who have financial issues, and to compensate for the lack of the provision of golf. Others, though, believe clubs should not do this as they have their own issues to worry about at this time.

Meanwhile, a survey has found less than a quarter of clubs are offering either a price reduction or deferral option.

Despite the lockdowns, demand is still very high

Here’s just two of the many examples of golf industry quotes from January which show that optimism for 2021 is strong, despite the current course restrictions: The QHotels golf group, which runs seven resorts in England and Scotland, has said it has been ‘inundated with enquiries’, particularly for the second quarter of 2021, while Colin Bee, secretary of Coxmoor Golf Club in Nottinghamshire, said: “It is subscription time at the moment and they are coming in nicely.”

‘Nomadic’ handicaps are back on the agenda again

Just a few months after England Golf shelved plans to create handicaps for golfers in England who are not members of golf clubs, the CEO, Jeremy Tomlinson, has said that they will be offered a handicap from this first half of this year. It’s been suggested that these ‘nomadic’ golfers will receive a handicap for about £40 per year, with England Golf projecting that as many as 125,000 golfers will sign up to the scheme by 2026.

Some golf club managers fear this will devalue club membership, but according to Tomlinson, “I’ve never known anybody join a golf club just to get a handicap.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 29, 2021 06:02
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  1. RA February 3, 20:56

    I totally agree, England Golf should never bypass golf clubs. They should instead promote the importance of having an official handicap by being a Member of a golf club.
    I am sure many pay and play clubs would welcome these nomad golfers to their club for a similar fee that England Golf are proposing as an increase in numbers would drive green fees.

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  2. ErnieLong February 2, 18:19

    To offer a handicap for £40 is ridiculous when there are already schemes such as associate membership which are inexpensive, allowing golfers to be a member for around £100 and then play in midweek comps at a guest rate. England Golf are completely out of touch. Of course people have joined for a handicap, why is it such a big deal to the nomadic golfers if they havent ! The nomads will take up all the cheap places in open competitions, and who will monitor their handicaps. Golfers should be supporting golf clubs without them there will be nowhere for them to play. If you choose not to join then dont expect the same privelidges. Be very careful England Golf, youre already extremely unpopular due to your handling of covid and closure of golf courses.

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