Golf Participation: Post-pandemic retention

Posted: April 20, 2022

As the world pivots towards a return to normal life, the coronavirus pandemic continues to have a profound impact on consumer habits. The period of contagion and self-isolation caused a rapid shift in behaviours; from how we work and shop, to how we invest in our leisure time. The move towards outdoor entertainment led people to take up new hobbies and re-visit old ones, increasing participation and demand in many sectors, which has continued post-pandemic.

The golf industry saw a promising rise in golf course membership and driving range visits after the easing of lockdown restrictions. This upwards trajectory presented a wealth of new opportunity to a market already tightening its image and facilitating a new generation of golfer. Joe Beditz, chief executive officer of the National Golf Foundation, is optimistic that the industry can adapt to what he calls 'an inflection' point in the game’s history and encouraged the sport to grasp the opportunity to capitalise on the increased interest it received post-pandemic.

Following the success of recreational golf giants BigShots and TopGolf, local driving ranges had already began ramping up their entertainment value, creating modern, efficient and inclusive spaces to welcome players of all ages and abilities. Golf clubs also recognised the need to modernise their facilities and find engaging ways to grow and retain membership.

Figures from the R&A 2020 GB&I Golf Participation Report showed an increase of 2.3 million on-course adult golfers in Great Britain and Ireland in 2020. The study also reflects a 25% rise in female participation, a huge success for grassroots golf and the sports wider social landscape.

Phil Anderton, Chief Development Officer at The R&A, explains, “We have seen a real surge in the number of golfers in Great Britain and Ireland playing the sport, and this is reflected by the high demand for tee times and clubs reporting a strong interest in membership last year. 

“Golf has shown that it can provide significant health benefits and this has been important for many golfers during these very challenging times. It is vital that golf seizes the opportunity to maintain this heightened interest by offering new and returning golfers compelling reasons to stay within the sport and enjoy it with friends and family.”

These promising new figures are being recognised around the globe, with facilities tailoring services to suit the needs of new and existing golfers. Clubs and ranges must continue to adapt with this dynamic new landscape and drive change that will cement the future of golf as a popular mainstream sport.


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