Here’s three golf industry trends that became evident in March

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 31, 2021 15:26

With golf courses reopening in England to unprecedented demand, we look at the top three trends in the golf industry in March.

Nine-hole golf is on the rise

While all forms of golf are subject to unprecedented demand at the moment, nine-hole golf has grown even faster than the 18-hole format in the last 12 months, according to BRS Golf.

The number of rounds booked more than doubled in 2020 compared with 2019, and the format was, for the first time, played more by members of clubs than visitors.

“Clubs not yet offering a nine-hole rate on their courses should consider changing their policy, making golf more accessible for players short on time or looking to squeeze in an evening round as daylight hours lengthen,” said a spokeswoman.

Golf course vandalism has also soared

Hopefully now that golf has resumed everywhere in the UK, this will calm down, but several venues reported vandalism in March.

Sprowston Manor Hotel & Country Club wasn’t able to reopen on March 29 because five of its greens were torn up the night before, Whitstable and Seasalter Golf Club had buggies stolen and abandoned on the course, fires were started at Ellesmere Golf Club and Fereneze Golf Club, and golf cars were damaged at Crichton Golf Club.

Image from Facebook

Some commentators stated a mixture of teenagers bored in lockdown and empty golf courses were the causes of much of the destruction.

Some councils are not appreciating how strong the demand for golf now is

Some local authorities have not grasped just how much activity most UK golf courses have experienced in recent days, and are threatening closure based on their performances in recent years.

For example, Whitewebbs Park Golf Course in North London did not reopen on March 29 due to it losing more than £1.1 million over the past five years – even though participation rates have been transformed due to the pandemic.

Ian Moncur from Sefton Council

Luton Borough Council has said it is considering closing Stockwood Park Golf Centre as it needs to make savings to cover a shortfall in its budget caused by fewer people using Luton Airport, despite it generating ‘substantial income’ in 2020.

Not all councils have this mindset though. Sefton Council is investing a quarter of a million pounds in Bootle Golf Course’s driving range, to capitalise on the current growth.

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 31, 2021 15:26
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