Golf club membership in Wales has soared

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 10, 2022 18:47

The number of people who are members of golf clubs in Wales has soared in the last two years, official figures reveal.

The growth is similar but even faster than that experienced in Scotland.

Both countries saw an even bigger rise in the second year of the pandemic than they did in the first.

The number of members at Welsh golf clubs has gone up by almost a quarter in the last two years, with a 13 percent rise in 2021, according to Wales Golf.

That followed an increase of 10 percent on 2020, putting the membership of Welsh golf clubs comfortably back over the 50,000 figure – a windfall for many clubs in otherwise difficult times with other revenues falling.

Around Wales there are now 53,682 members of golf clubs, an increase of 7,000 new members of golf clubs in the last 12 months and the highest level since 2010.

There have been increases in all categories of player, male, female, boys and girls, in figures comparing August 2021 with 12 months earlier.

Hannah McAllister

“These figures are great for Welsh golf clubs at a time when many would have faced even greater hardship without the new members, but in many ways these numbers are just a start,” said Wales Golf chief executive Hannah McAllister.

“We know there are around twice as many people who play golf in Wales compared to the number of golf club members. The more we can show people the value and benefits of being a golf club member, the better for everyone.

“The challenge for clubs, with the help of Wales Golf, is to build on these figures, retaining the new club members and also looking to increase further in many areas.”

The rise in membership has been driven by a new demographic joining clubs, often younger men whose other sporting involvements were harder during Covid.

“Clubs cannot start too soon in terms of retaining members in 2022,” explained Wales Golf director of development Zoe Thacker.

“It costs clubs less to retain members than to attract new ones. We know from research there were more rounds played in 2020 than ever before, with the deficit through lockdowns being more than made up at other times.

“Many ex-golfers are coming back to the sport, more younger males are joining clubs, for some clubs there is the return of waiting lists and joining fees.

“It all makes knowing and understanding your members more important than ever. Luckily The R&A and Wales Golf have conducted some good research, both in terms of the quantity of people consulted and the in-depth quality of the information.

“We know around half of these new members already enjoyed golf, while doing an outdoor sport and being encouraged by friends were also major factors. Lack of time was referenced as a reason for not coming back to golf before.

“Enjoyment, feeling welcome, a relaxed atmosphere and playing with friends were cited among the key factors in retention going forward.

“So it is vital that clubs engage with their new members, while reinforcing messages about the contribution golf makes to physical and mental health, being outside and spending time with friends.

“Pricing is also important, as well as the facilities on offer at the club apart from the golf course itself.

“While there has been a healthy increase in boys and girls joining golf clubs, there is work to be done encouraging women and girls.

“Changing working patterns offer an opportunity in terms of increased time and flexibility. There may also be a benefit in clubs working together.

“Covid-19 has accelerated the need for clubs to change, it has offered challenges in terms of clubs catering with increased demand, but this period also underlines opportunities going forward for Welsh golf clubs.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 10, 2022 18:47
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2 Comments

  1. CACI January 11, 12:00

    Same in England membership of most clubs has grown significantly

    Reply to this comment
  2. Golf4Golfers January 11, 07:26

    The same in Sweden, the golf business needed a boost, lets Hope this continues, how ever every golf club needs to save for a rainy day,
    Unfortunately what goes up will come down

    Reply to this comment
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