Although research published by the European Golf Industry Association shows an overall decline in the number of rounds played in 2001, the report, on a more optimistic note, does reveal an increase in the number of rounds played in the fourth quarter of the year over the same period in 2000.
The research, carried out on behalf of the EGIA by Sports Marketing Surveys, shows that the average number of rounds of golf played in the UK during 2001 was 6% down on the year 2000.
Most of the damage was done in the first quarter of the year with the cumulative effects of poor weather and course closures due to foot and mouth taking their toll. These factors caused a massive 33% fall in rounds played. The most significant reductions were in March 2001 and the South and Midland regions were the most seriously affected. Copies of the full report can be obtained from the EGIA at a cost of £100.
There is also some positive news from the United States where the number of rounds of golf played in February 2002 showed a nationwide increase of 6.5% compared to the same month in 2001.
According to figures released by Golf Datatech, the mild US winter is having a positive impact. The monthly survey, produced in part with the cooperation of the National Golf Course Owners Association, shows participation for the year to date is up 6.2% versus the same two months last year.
The New England, Middle Atlantic, West North Central and East North Central regions showed the greatest increases in February 2002, compared to February 2001. Only South Atlantic (-1.8%) and East South Central (-6.1%) showed declines.