Here’s three UK golf industry trends from August

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 31, 2021 10:03

From ‘thinking outside the box’ when it comes to introducing golf to youngsters to the end of the pandemic participation boom, we look at the top golf industry trends from August 2021.

Could toboggan runs become a feature of some golf clubs?

Phil Anderton, the new chief development officer at The R&A, recently said: “Golf clubs need to cater for others,” adding that 13-year-old boys “view golf in a completely different way” to members of traditional golf clubs.

Leen Valley Golf Club in Nottinghamshire seems to agree, as it plans to build a 120-metre toboggan run on its grounds. The run, constructed on a natural slope, will follow a zig-zag route, descending downwards using artificial liners before dismounting at the bottom of the slope. It will be accompanied by a pathway to provide access back to the start of the run.

If successful, this could become a trend adopted by other clubs in the same way some have embraced adventure golf and footgolf in recent years.

Several clubs are progressing plans to build housing

Some are prepared to get rid of some, or even all, of their courses in order to build housing on them, due to the financial benefits this would bring, as at least six clubs have progressed plans in recent weeks.

The Hertfordshire Golf and Country Club said this would provide much-needed funds – and that the pandemic has meant investing in housing is now more lucrative than in hotels.

The slowdown has started – but there is much to be positive about

The pandemic participation boom could not go on forever, and new data has shown a slowdown did take place this summer as, for example, July 2020 saw more than 100,000 more visitor rounds were booked at UK golf clubs than in July 2021.

However, the data is still incredibly encouraging. The numbers from 2021 show a huge increase compared with 2019. As one golf club owner put it: “A legacy of 10 to 12 percent more customers since 2019 is the likely result across the industry.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 31, 2021 10:03
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