2023 is set for record golf participation year

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 13, 2023 11:17

This year is set to break last year’s record for the highest number of rounds of golf played by members of clubs in the UK and Ireland in history.

New data for the number of rounds of golf played in the UK and Ireland this summer shows the demand to play is still very strong, more than three years after the pandemic started and despite poor weather this summer.

BRS Golf and GolfNow have analysed member and visitor rounds played at more than 1,500 golf clubs in the third quarter of 2023, from July 1 to September 30.

BRS Golf processed 7.3 million member rounds in the quarter, only down one percent from the year earlier, despite significantly colder and wetter weather. Most of the drop came in September while July was actually up by 211,000 rounds, and some territories such as Scotland and Wales saw a year-on-year increase over the whole quarter.

This was three percent down compared with the third quarter of 2021 and 21 percent down versus the height of the post lockdown boom in 2020. However, looking back to pre-Covid levels of play, rounds are up an incredible 86 percent versus 2019.

Significantly, this also means the first nine months of 2023 saw a total of 21 million member rounds, which is a six percent increase on last year, which was itself a record year for member participation. This year’s numbers represent a 17 percent increase on 2021, a 22 percent increase on 2020, and a 93 percent increase on 2019.

Every territory has seen a year-to-date increase – 10 percent in Scotland, nine in Wales, six in England and five in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Within England, the Midlands has seen a 12 percent rise, while the south has seen one percent growth.

BRS Golf is forecasting a 26 million round year – up five percent year-over-year, and 93 percent up versus 2019.

GolfNow, meanwhile, says it has seen a 20 percent jump year-over-year in revenue from green fees. It says the average basket value of a visitor booking has increased two percent versus 2022 to £54.96.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 13, 2023 11:17
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  1. Woody October 16, 10:06

    When are you going to publish your Q2 club membership results?

    Reply to this comment
  2. Barran October 14, 17:32

    Great stats from the guys at GolfNow and it is great for the industry that visitor bookings have increased. From a members perspective, we love our members at the club but the more they play the less times available for visitors. This will mean a decrease in revenue, a decrease in relative cost per round to a member but then an increase in membership fees to balance out the costs. What would be good is to reference that against the increase of actual joining members to find out if more clubs are converting or if it is the same members, just playing more often, which then just leads to my first point of better value for money for them than the courses.

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  3. CMF Global October 14, 10:08

    Keep hitting those balls!

    Reply to this comment
  4. SSmith October 13, 16:19

    Yet clubs are losing members hand over fist

    Reply to this comment
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