Here’s some of the major trends in the UK golf industry we saw in July

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 30, 2021 16:10

The surge in participation caused by the pandemic continued to dominate the industry in July, with more venues earmarked for closure being saved and the game’s future now looking set for a very different path than its past.

Golfers have become targets for two particular thieves

Several men in their 60s to 80s have, in recent weeks, reported that when they were on their own in the car park of their golf club, they were approached by two women with dark hair and foreign accents, with typically one pretending to be deaf while the other asked them to sign a petition for charity. When they did, one of the women grabbed them to hug, and, in doing so, stole their watch before swiftly exiting via a nearby car.

This has now happened at least 14 times in the last year at at least four different golf clubs, mostly in Hampshire and Dorset.

The pandemic is saving several municipal golf courses

The surge in participation in the last 18 months has benefitted numerous golf clubs, but particularly council-owned venues, many of which were close to being closed down.

For example, Stockwood Park Golf Centre and Bulwell Hall Golf Course were both earmarked for closure in order to save their local authorities money, but both have now been rescued, Pewit Golf Course didn’t reopen in 2020 but did in June 2021, and Camperdown Golf Course, a venue that a council agreed to close in 2019, is also set to reopen.

Now Rockwood Golf Course in Horsham can be added to that list. Plans were unveiled last year for it to be converted into 1,100 homes, but the council has said it will be given at least a two-year reprieve. Its leader has said: “Following a year that has seen increased golf activity we are committed to engaging over the next two years before making any longer term commitments on the future of Rookwood.”

The boom in women’s golf is unprecedented

For years the UK golf industry has talked about the potential from women playing golf but in that time the percentage of people playing golf who are female has stubbornly remained at around 14 percent – one of the lowest in the world.

However, in just one year, that figure has doubled.

The total number of people who played a round of golf in the British Isles nearly doubled from 2.9 million to 5.2 million from 2019 to 2020. But of those, the number of women grew from just over 400,000 to 1.46 million – to 28 percent of all golfers.

Perhaps of equal encouragement: 95 percent of people who tried golf for the first time in 2020 have said they will continue playing the game.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 30, 2021 16:10
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