London, England: The number of rounds of golf played in Great Britain between July and September this year has broken all previous records since the company digitally documenting them in 2005, according to Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS).
Overall, the average number of rounds played across the country was up 59% compared to 2019.
The recent surge means that total rounds for the year to date (up to September) were up 7% against 2019. In the context of the complete closure of golf courses for seven weeks between March and May, and then of ensuing periods of two-ball only play, or increased gaps between tee times, this represents an extraordinary performance for the golf industry.
Leading the charge has been the south of England, where the year-to-date figure was up by 22%. Even in Scotland, where hotels and resorts did not reopen until July 15, strong inroads are being made into the year-to-date deficit.
The news of the huge surge in golf club memberships and rounds played came as golf clubs braced themselves for another month of closed doors, with courses in England closed from November 5 until December 2.
“We know this news will be bittersweet for golf courses who have put in so much effort throughout this year to react to the changing Coronavirus situation and keep golfers safe,” said Richard Payne, Director at Sports Marketing Surveys, a Full Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
He added: “Like many, we had hoped that golf would be able to remain open in any national lockdown. Nevertheless, the record results are a credit to the hard work of course owners, secretaries, professionals, and greenkeeping staff, and should give great heart to clubs as they face the next four weeks.
“With the delayed Masters driving interest in the sport in November, and consumers more aware than ever of the importance of socialising and exercising outdoors, golf should be well poised – regulations allowing – to rebound in December and end this topsy-turvy year on a high.”