Commenting on the latest KPGM Golf Participation Report for Europe 2017, Deirdre O’Connell, Head of Marketing Services at Carr Golf, Ireland’s leading club management agency, commented on the report.
“We welcome the ongoing stabilisation of the European golf market. While Ireland doesn’t top any tables and there isn’t anything too startling from the Irish figures, we have had a very slight decline in the number of golfers, termed as stable by the report, which sits against the norm of a slight increase in other countries. Our 4% participation rate remains one of the highest in Europe, in terms of the number of registered golfers.
“In total, in 2016 Ireland was down four golf courses nett. We were the second worst hit country in Europe for closures, after Scotland which had 19. Yet we have multi-million Euro capital investments in places like Hogs Head and Adare Manor, not to mention huge spends on staffing, infrastructure and golf technologies, and Irish consumers are spending over €500m on golf annually. The green shoots are there, local golf club teams need to get ahead to reap rewards.
“The report only reaffirms the obvious; clubs must innovate to drive participation. Clubs should consider launching Autumn and Winter ‘Get Into Golf’ programmes now for juniors and ladies, timings that will feed into Spring starter membership programmes. Relax playing formats to ease length, price and skill levels to appeal to the younger generations, or those not interested in spending as long on the course.
“Flogton, “not golf” backwards, is the American effort which encourages the calming traditional rules to reduce player frustration, in the way snowboarding came from skiing. 12 hole format golf, or breaks at the 9th, any version of modified formats will show an effort to welcome more play.
“The timing of these findings should help new committees and club managers focus on agreeing investments and programmes now to have a fit-for-purpose business model in 2018.”
Together with other industry research materials, KPMG’s Golf Participation Report for Europe 2017 is available for download on www.golfbenchmark.com
Carr Golf www.carrgolf.com