Here’s three revealing developments in the golf industry from September

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir September 29, 2023 12:22

From the opening of new driving ranges to the longevity of greenkeepers, the last month has raised more talking points than merely the excitement surrounding the Solheim and Ryder cups.

Scotland is building modern driving ranges

The first three Topgolf venues were all in south-east England but the fourth, which opened at the end of last year, was in Glasgow, and it featured Scotland’s first three-tiered range.

This summer, also in Glasgow, The R&A opened Golf It!, which features a 52-bay double decker floodlit driving range.

Now, a planning application to build a standalone £1.1 million driving range in Perth, to support two local golf clubs, has been submitted.

Off-course golf is attracting women to the game

Very much related to the trend above, a new study has found that three times as many people play golf in the UK off-course – for example on driving ranges or at adventure golf venues – than on it.

The research also found that while golf on courses is still male-dominated, the off-course sex split is almost 50/50.

As PGA chief executive Robert Maxfield says: “This is a massive opportunity for the golf industry. We can see that there is scope for the game to welcome the huge population of females who are already engaged in golf but don’t perhaps already consider themselves as ‘golfers’.”

Greenkeeping is a profession like no other

In the last month two Scottish golf clubs announced the appointment of a new course manager, something that shouldn’t be huge news but, in a way, it is.

Jon Wood has been named the new course manager of the Old Course at St Andrews. He is the venue’s 10th ‘keeper of the green’ since 1864.

Kerr Rowan is the new course manager at Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club. He will be the golf club’s seventh course manager since it was established in 1887.

Greenkeeping is a job probably like no other – the pay isn’t great, you have to be up very early and work in sometimes appalling weather conditions, the customers may not appreciate the work that is being put in and you need to be physically fit to do it.

And yet we have over 150 years of data to know that most greenkeepers would rather do this than any other job, which is probably testimony to how rewarding spending time in an open green space can be.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir September 29, 2023 12:22
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