The reopening of golf courses post-lockdown has brought about a considerable number of changes to the industry. The figures collated by The Revenue Club from online sales at 140 of private and proprietary courses have been unprecedented. Demand has been so high that the majority of clubs had clawed back the deficit from the start of the year within six weeks of trading.
One encouraging trend that has materialised is the sharp increase in the average green fee. Because of such high demand, price increases did not deter golfers and the industry average jumped by nearly £5pp to £24.73.
It is worth noting that a higher proportion of this June’s visitor sales were at an off-peak time due to the majority of peak times being taken by members, which makes the rate increases even more significant. The challenge for UK clubs is to maintain these higher prices in order to make the future of the industry much more sustainable.
One other notable shift is the rise in younger golfers. In June 2019 the largest demographic looking for a tee time was the 65+ age category which represented 24% of visitor golfers. In June 2020 the biggest sector was 24-34 which represented 28% of the market, and a younger segment of 18-24 was a notable customer base of 15% having not even registered historically.
The key focus for the industry is now to retain these new and lapsed golfers that have been playing over the last two months. Data collection will be key in order to continue to engage with them through targeted and cost effective digital marketing, and to ensure they become part of a new customer base that helps to secure the future of the game and golf