Golf memberships are still rising but visitor numbers are falling

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 8, 2023 12:02

More data is showing that while golf membership figures were strong in 2022, visitor numbers have fallen following the pandemic boom in 2020 and 2021.

One survey last month found that the average UK golf club saw a slight rise in membership numbers in 2022 compared with 2021, but a drop in visitor numbers by 30 percent.

Now a company that provides pricing strategies for golf clubs, The Revenue Club, has said the level of visitor green fee revenue at the average UK and Ireland golf club reduced by two percent in 2022, to £158,688, from 2021.

This is despite the average green fee across the UK and Ireland rising by 11 percent year-on-year, to £24.73. Last month online tee time company BRS said it believes the average green fee is almost identical to this at £24.59.

In the peak months of June to August, sales were at similarly high levels as the summer of 2021, but in late spring and autumn sales were at a slower rate, and ‘considerably lower’ in November and December.

Online sales were up by two percent and now represent 61 percent of green fee sales. There was also a large – 33 percent – reduction in the volume of revenue from brokers.

Spokesman Rob Corcoran said: “The coming year presents additional challenges with the existing pattern of winter sales currently operating at a lower level than the start of 2022, suggesting there could be a further reduction in the short term.

“The cost of living crisis may lead to a drop in the amount golfers are prepared to spend on playing this year, or it could lead to a shift in the way they pay for their golf with more individuals electing to revert to nomadic playing patterns following the membership boom of the last two to three years. Golf clubs will need to be agile to react to the probable changes to ensure they are well positioned to make the most of the demand, and the likelihood that golfers are likely to be even more savvy with how they spend their money in 2023.

Despite the drop in visitor numbers golf clubs are still experiencing an unprecedented boom in participation, with 2022 thought to be the year that, in the UK and Ireland, the most rounds of golf ever were played.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 8, 2023 12:02
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  1. Ernielong February 10, 04:14

    Green fees in general have become ridiculously high, many clubs have priced themselves out of the normal golfers budget.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Vendi Golf February 9, 12:19

    Not in Australia… golf is flying for social players… what is your database?

    Reply to this comment
    • Brad Naylor February 25, 06:44

      Nomadic golf is now very expensive unless you only play very occasionally. For anyone playing more than a couple of times a month or wanting competitive golf some kind of membership at a club or municipal course the only viable way.

      Affordability is key though, and this means clubs offering easy ways to pay for membership. The old annual bill and payment up front in one go is now not a realistic option for many golfers who are paid monthly and have no savings.

      Clubs need to offer monthly payment by direct debit to attract and retain members.

      Reply to this comment
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