Stable but unspectacular” sums up the recent financial performance of the United Kingdom’s commercial courses, according to the latest industry numbers released by Colin Hegarty of The Golf Research Group at Wentworth on Wednesday, 12th April.
Speaking to an invited audience and launching a new report entitled “Financial Performance of UK Commercial Course 2000”, Colin Hegarty said that there were now 848 commercial courses in the United Kingdom of which 512 had opened in the 1990’s. Perhaps not surprisingly this rate of development has slowed down and continues to slow down. Rather than the development of new sites it is the expansion of existing golf facilities that has become the greater activity.
The Golf Research Group, which now has an office in San Francisco as well as in the UK, believes that world-wide there are 31,000 golf courses and that 50% of these are in the United States.
In the United Kingdom the number of golf courses has increased by 30% in the past ten years but the number of regular golfers has increased much more slowly so courses are having to fight harder and harder to stay busy. Joining fees have fallen again in the past year and now average only £250 while 34% of courses charge no joining fee at all. There are a number of initiatives to attract new golfers to the game and some research reports suggest that there are as many as 7.5 million people who would like to take up golf.
The full report will be available from 19th April at a cost of £250.