Here’s three top trends in the UK golf industry from February 2022

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 28, 2022 17:49

From golf clubs being disappointed by local planners to a new player becoming a major golf club operator, we look at some of the top developments in the industry in February 2022.

Topgolf will open in Scotland this year

This is an important announcement, not just because it’s the first three-tiered, entertainment-based driving range to come to Scotland, but also because it, in some ways, is symbolic of how the golf industry has reacted to Covid.

Construction on the facility started in early 2020 and it was almost immediately halted – for 16 months – by the pandemic. However, the project, like many of the people who will use it, is now back in full swing.

There’s a new major player among golf club operators

Retailer American Golf has been a significant influence in the golf industry for years, with stores at some venues and even ownership of others that typically focus on family-friendly golf such as adventure golf courses and driving ranges.

However, with the participation surge in the UK in the last two years, American Golf has now started taking over the running of full golf clubs.

Last year it purchased High Legh Park Golf Club in Cheshire for £2.7 million. At roughly the same time, Barnehurst Golf Course in Bexleyheath closed down – and American Golf has now bought that facility and will reopen it shortly.

Planners are rejecting some attempts to build housing on golf clubs

There is a large number of planning applications involving golf clubs that want to build housing in order to secure their futures going through local authorities at the moment.

Some councils might be keen for them to go ahead to help them meet housebuilding targets but, perhaps surprisingly, many are being refused.

For example, the planning inspector has dismissed an appeal for nearly 400 homes to be built on Hawkhurst Golf and Squash Club in Kent, stating that too much harm would be done to an Area of Natural Beauty (AONB), Henlle Park Golf Club in Shropshire has seen its plans, to reduce the course from 18 holes to nine, to make way for 90 cabins, rejected by planning officers who said the development would have a detrimental impact on the surrounding landscape and nearby historic sites, and Bowood Park Hotel and Golf Club has been refused permission to build eight homes for reasons including the project being in open countryside, there being a lack of affordable housing and a lack of evidence that it would boost biodiversity.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 28, 2022 17:49
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