Here’s the top three UK golf industry trends in May 2021

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 31, 2021 17:09

All the main trends in the industry at the moment are driven by the surge in participation, here is our pick of the main three from the last month.

It’s a sellers’ market

Some golf clubs that have been up for sale for years have been purchased this spring.

In May alone, property company, U+I, agreed to hand over the lease of Arkley Golf Club in Hertfordshire to Get Golfing, Styrrup Hall Golf & Country Club was acquired by a transport and property company for ongoing golf use, for an undisclosed amount, with a guide price of £1.7 million, Fairwood Park Golf Club in Swansea was sold to a local family for an undisclosed amount, Welbeck Manor Hotel and Sparkwell Golf Course in Devon was purchased by an undisclosed buyer and South Winchester Golf Club has been sold to a housing company.

As one agent said: “The sale clearly demonstrates the market’s strong ongoing demand for golf businesses.”

Driving ranges are very popular right now

According to data commissioned by The R&A, driving range use has surged in the last year from 2.3 million to 4.3 million golfers, meaning that the vast majority of new people to golf in the last year are using the driving range.

It’s more, though, than just an addition to the course. A golf ‘entertainment complex’ will open in Berkshire this summer, which will be based around two driving ranges, Wallsend Golf Centre is undergoing a £13 million development that will combine the facilities of a traditional driving range with state-of-the-art virtual reality digital technology, Sefton Council is investing heavily in a driving range for the local community while Topgolf is currently building a new facility in Glasgow.

Operators are investing in their courses

With participation in golf booming, many operators are investing in their courses, partly due to the high footfall, but mainly because they recognise the importance of this asset at the moment.

QHotels has said it will invest £2 million at its seven golf venues in England and Scotland over the next 12 months, with further significant investment to follow in 2022 and 2023, with upgrades to greenkeeping equipment at the heart of the spend.

This comes after Glendale Golf said it will invest, on average six figure amounts, in five golf courses, while South Ayrshire Council, which was earmarking five of its eight golf clubs for closure in early 2020, is now set to invest in all of them following the surge in popularity of the game amid the pandemic.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 31, 2021 17:09
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