Golf rounds in 2021 are up by 46% compared with 2019

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 22, 2021 16:49

New data shows the number of rounds of golf played in the UK in the third quarter of 2021 are significantly up compared with 2019 and only slightly down on 2020.

The figures from July, August and September 2021 are the first time a three month period can be compared with a three-month period a year earlier in which there were no lockdowns, since the pandemic began.

They show the number of rounds played rose 46 percent compared to the same period in 2019 and fell only seven percent on 2020’s numbers.

The figures for this year also include a spell of poor weather, the climax of Euro 2020, restaurants and bars reopening, live sport welcoming back spectators and people starting to return to the office in a flexible format.

The figures also suggest the number of rounds played in September 2021 was about the same as in September 2020.

The south, which recorded a particularly extraordinary performance in 2020, experienced the greatest drop in 2021.

The SMS Rounds Played Monitor concludes that “Q3 2020 was a time of unprecedented appetite for golf. It was a record performance in the 20 year history of the Rounds Played Monitor. That 2021 is outpacing 2019 while hanging within touching distance of 2020 gives grounds for optimism. Even as other leisure activities reopen and golfers have more alternative ways to spend their leisure time and money, golf remains top of many people’s lists.”

SMS director Richard Payne added: “It isn’t surprising at all that we have seen a decline against 2020, which was an anomaly in lots of ways. What was always going to be the key this year was the proportion of those new players and new rounds golf managed to retain. In absolute terms, the comparison with 2019 is much more meaningful, so it’s brilliant to see substantial medium term growth. The relatively low drop compared to 2020 is great news, suggesting that those who played more last year appreciated the benefits of the game, in terms of physical, mental and social wellbeing. The results also mean that year to date growth remains up, 16.7 percent higher than 2020 – although closures through Q2 had an impact. At the end of last year, we expected to see a further boost in 2021 as an overall year and we are delighted to see that playing out so far.”

Phil Anderton, chief development officer at The R&A, said: “It is encouraging to see that more rounds are being played in Great Britain now compared to the same period two years ago and this reflects a rising demand to play the sport when it can be enjoyed outdoors by golfers, who are experiencing the many health benefits it can provide. The opportunity is there for clubs and facilities to retain this heightened interest in playing the sport by ensuring that they provide a product that golfers can continue to enjoy with family and friends.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 22, 2021 16:49
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1 Comment

  1. The Bucket Pros November 22, 23:13

    What will clubs be doing to retain the influx of players? Who are these players playing more rounds ? What does the future hold for golf ? Awesome news that more rounds are being played but there needs to be a level of caution ⚠️

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