Here’s three golf industry developments from December that could help shape 2021

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 4, 2021 13:31

The final month of 2020 saw the two dominant stories of the year meet head-to-head: Many clubs reported the gains they have made from the surge in demand just as Covid lockdowns resulted in more restrictions on who can play.

Golf clubs have been asked to consider the design of their clubhouses

In one of the very few non-Covid stories last month, the most successful women’s golfer in history, Annika Sorenstam, has said that golf clubs need to think about the design of their clubhouses if they want to attract more women to them.

In particular, she said ladies’ locker rooms appear to be a “last minute thought”, while the pro shop can also be unwelcoming.

‘Many golf clubhouses are still not welcoming to women’

Golf being allowed in Tier 4 was a breakthrough

Shortly before Christmas the UK’s culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, was presented with a paper that stated that golf can be played safely in line with Covid-restrictions.

A few days later many areas of England entered Tier 4, but golf was allowed, even (in a two-ball only) with a member of a different household, possibly due to this paper. Scotland then entered a full national lockdown and also allowed golf. This felt like a breakthrough.

It was, of course, a limited breakthrough. The amateur game was still banned in Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for the start of 2021 due to coronavirus, and then again in England when it went into another full lockdown.

The industry is optimistic for 2021

A poll of golf club managers and owners around the world has found there is significant optimism for the industry in 2021. Two-thirds of respondents said they are ‘very optimistic’ that golf will be able to capitalise on the surge of interest and newcomers to the game, and just over half believe that the pandemic is a new ‘silver lining’ for the game of golf.

This comes as Fraserburgh Golf Club, the seventh oldest in the world, has said that 2020 was so successful that the venue will move forward to the ‘next level’ due to an influx of new members, Brora Golf Club has revealed that 135 people from across the world joined it in 2020 to save it from closing, Dalmuir Golf Course has said the number of rounds played at its venue between June and October in 2020 was nearly double the figure for the whole of 2019, Glencruitten Golf Club saw 150 new members join last year and The Braes saw its membership treble.

Meanwhile, the owner of Murrayshall Country House Hotel and Golf Club has launched a public consultation into a proposed £15 million investment programme at the venue, the new owner of The K Club in Ireland, the host of the 2006 Ryder Cup, has said he is planning fresh investment in the property and St Margaret’s Golf & Country Club also in Ireland has said it will invest £900,000 in the club and is reintroducing a joining fee.

Two more golf clubs announce major investment projects

Former Ryder Cup host plans new investment amid golf boom

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 4, 2021 13:31
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