Here’s our top three golf industry trends from February

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 28, 2021 05:18

From sponsorship for amateur golfers to venues knowing when they can prepare for the next participation surge, we review the big three trends in the golf industry in the last month.

Amateur golfers ‘will be able to accept sponsorship without restriction’

Golf’s two biggest authorities are set to put an end to scenarios, such as one that occurred a quarter of a century ago, when Tiger Woods (we wish him a full and swift recovery) had to wait until he turned professional to sign a $40 million sponsorship deal.

Proposed changes by The R&A and USGA to the Rules of Amateur Status, which govern the game worldwide, and would come into effect at the beginning of next year, will see all sponsorship restrictions on amateur golfers eliminated and a golfer will only become a professional if they accepted more than $750 (£535) after winning an event.

Another participation surge is probably coming

Some golf clubs in England have stated their first bookings for March 29 came within seconds of the confirmation that that’s when golf courses can reopen.

This comes as the number of UK golf clubs that have a waiting list for members has more than doubled in the past 12 months from 22 to 45 percent, according to a new survey.

While separate research on golf participation in the UK shows that year-on-year participation went up by an incredible 41 percent for the final three months of 2020, even though most golf courses were closed for about a third of that time.

This year could have the highest participation in golf in England since records began, even though clubs would have been closed for at least a quarter of the year.

Local authorities are interested in golf again

The UK has seen well over a decade of municipal golf courses either being closed or handed to new operators, but that seems to be changing due to the participation surge.

While not every council is playing along, Southampton City Council will take over Southampton City Golf Course next month, North Somerset Council has said it will launch a legal bid to take back control of Portishead Golf Course, Wirral Council’s plan from last year to close three municipal golf courses is likely to be shelved and Cleeve Hill Golf Club, which was also told by its council last year that it would close this month, has now signed a 125-year lease to continue providing golf.

As the chair of its local common trust said, the course “has been an invaluable place for recreation, which has proved its importance to the local community during the pandemic.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 28, 2021 05:18
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