Here’s three trends from the last month that give us an insight into the state of the UK golf industry

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 29, 2024 11:07

From official recognition for hickory golf to local support for struggling clubs, we look at key developments in the last four weeks.

Golf groups are continuing to grow

Pre-Covid, when participation was far lower than it is today, some of the groups that run multiple golf clubs were reducing the number of venues they operated. Crown Golf, for instance, went from running 25 clubs in 2012 to nine in 2020.

Things are different today – The Club Company, Love Golf UK and Get Golfing have all taken on new clubs in the last few weeks, and all are investing in them.

Is hickory golf the future as well as the past?

Hickory golf is played with wooden-shafted clubs with club heads that date no later than 1935, and it is growing in popularity.

The Cornwall Golf Union has become the first county golf association in the UK to officially recognise hickory golf.

This paves the way for official championships, and the first event will take place this August. Other plans include the Cornwall Open / Closed Championship and the introduction of a hickory league.

Local people are saving struggling golf clubs

There is pressure on councils to close down some golf courses – particularly because it frees up space to build much-needed housing and municipal venues might not be cost effective if the authority has a budget deficit.

However, we’re also finding that local people can exert even more influence over the councils.

Gatley Golf Club in Stockport was to be converted into 278 homes but councillors have narrowly voted to reject the proposal following a local campaign.

Hollandbush Golf Club was on the brink of closure but South Lanarkshire Council has agreed to maintain and find a new model for running it, also thanks to a campaign.

There are also suggestions that Dundee City Council will keep two courses earmarked for closure open.Golf courses often receive negative attention in some parts of the media – but that’s an attitude almost always not shared by people who live near them.

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 29, 2024 11:07
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