Here’s three UK golf industry trends from May 2023

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 31, 2023 09:36

From one golf club reporting its best ever financial results to another club going ‘gender free’ on its tees, we look at what’s been happening in the industry in the last month.

The move towards tees based on skill continues

Dozens of golf clubs have, in the last ten or so years, abandoned men’s and ladies’ tees and ensured all their tees are rated for everyone. This means golfers of both sexes have more choice related to their ability over which tees to use.

Scotscraig Golf Club in Fife has become the latest to do this, saying it has improved the golf experience for players of all skill levels.

Sheringham Golf Club in Norfolk was among the first to introduce ‘gender-free’ tees, in 2013. Its manager at the time said: “It’s been a great success, particularly with our senior gentlemen and higher handicap ladies, who now have the opportunity to play a shorter course.”

Some clubs report that last year was their best ever year

Despite the cost-of-living crisis, Lahinch Golf Club in Ireland, for example, enjoyed a record operating surplus of more than £1.75 million in the last financial year.

The growth was driven by green fee income tripling to more than £2.6 million and came after the club experienced two turbulent years due to the pandemic.

The club predicts that its green fee income will be high again this year, although not quite as high as it was 2022.

It seems the demand for foreign golfers to visit UK and Irish golf clubs remains strong.

Topgolf Callaway’s Q1 performance may sum up the industry today

One of the biggest companies in golf had a mixed set of results for its earnings report for the first quarter of 2023.

Topgolf Callaway’s golf equipment segment decreased by nearly £20 million (5.2 percent) year-over-year, as perhaps soaring inflation and a slowing down in participation growth after the pandemic boom had an impact on sales.

Topgolf. Image from Twitter

However, revenue for its Topgolf business grew by £65 million – a 25.3 percent year-over-year increase.

This comes as a recent study found 41.1 million Americans played golf in 2022, nearly 10 million more than 2016’s golf participation total, with more people now playing golf off-course, on facilities such as at Topgolf’s driving ranges, than on it.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 31, 2023 09:36
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  1. Philippe Wattinne June 1, 09:19

    thanks for this info.
    very interesting

    Reply to this comment
  2. Moly June 1, 09:16

    The green fee growth, targeting foreign holidaymakers, is having a real impact on occasional or peripatetic UK based golfers. Would be good to see clubs increase its availability of UK resident green fees.

    Reply to this comment
  3. NOAH May 31, 16:06

    ‘Skills based tees’ makes so much more sense. If you want an easier game, or you’re a high handicapper, go off the fronts. If you’re a low handicapper, or have expensive clubs and a big ego, then go off the tips.

    Reply to this comment
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