Here’s three developments from the last month that reveal a lot about the state of the golf industry

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 31, 2023 12:36

From mixed financial performances in the golf club industry to the unwelcome return of trophy thefts, here’s a look at some key trends from the last few weeks.

Participation is still at record-high levels

It might be more than three years since the first Covid lockdown ended, when golf participation soared at an unprecedented rate, but records are still being broken for the amount of golf currently being played.

One analyst believes this year will see 26 million rounds of golf played in the UK and Ireland by golf club members, the highest number ever recorded, and up a staggering 93 percent compared with 2019.

The financial performance of clubs is mixed

High participation and membership numbers are good for the industry, but they’re not enough for every golf club that’s had to contend with soaring inflation in recent years.

There are sharply contrasting stories this month involving golf clubs, for example Rudding Park is to build a new clubhouse, family hub and tennis courts, Lakeside Golf Course has applied to almost triple the size of its driving range and build a new building to contain a pro shop and refreshment facilities, and Woodham Golf and Country Club, which was previously struggling, is now investing heavily in itself.

At the same time, however, the golf course at Dudsbury Golf Club, Hotel & Spa is to close next year and Clare Park Lake Golf Club wants to convert its clubhouse into a four-bedroom home because of increasing costs mixed with reduced usage of the facility.

Insure and secure your trophies

Between 2012 and 2014, several UK golf clubs had their trophies stolen in raids. Police believed silver trophies were targeted because the price of silver rose from less than 10 pence per gram in 2000 to more than 90 pence per gram in 2011. The thefts stopped as the price slumped to less than 30 pence per gram by 2015.

Today, the price is back up to more than 60 pence per gram – and at least one club has had its silverware stolen.

Coombe Hill Golf Club saw £90,000-worth of valuables taken, and Walton Heath Golf Club was also targeted recently.

As the captain of Coombe Hill said – the offence is becoming increasingly common and golf clubs will have to devote more resources to deterring criminals.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 31, 2023 12:36
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