London, England: Preliminary figures from Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS) ‘Rounds Played Monitor’ indicate a third straight month of dramatic growth in the number of golf rounds being played in Great Britain.
Following jumps of 61% in June and over 40% in July, there is still no sign of the golf boom tailing off. In fact, early indications are that the average number of golf rounds during Covid played per course in August rose by more than 60% compared to 2019.
Golf is seen as an outdoor sport that allows for social distancing while players can get out of the house to get some exercise and fresh air.
The SMS panel, which includes both proprietary and private member clubs, has recorded strong growth across the country, thanks in part to the reopening of hotels and resorts, many of which stayed closed into July.
At the same time, as SMS research from earlier in the pandemic identified, it is likely that uncertainty surrounding international travel and a fear of having to quarantine on return has driven and will continue to drive increased domestic golf tourism.
In total, less than half of golfers believe it will be safe to travel abroad for a golf break before April 2021 compared to almost 60% who believe it will be safe to travel domestically by the end of 2020.
Richard Payne, SMS’s Golf Operations Manager, said: “One of the many sectors of the golf industry impacted by Coronavirus has been tourism. Fear of the pandemic and uncertainty about quarantine conditions on return are a recipe for caution when it comes to booking new golf trips, particularly when the journey requires long distance travel.
“The flip side of that change is that domestic tourism in the United Kingdom can expect to see a boost in the immediate future.
“England, Scotland, Wales and the island of Ireland offer some of the finest golf courses and experiences in the world, and it’s great to see golfers enjoying the opportunity to explore. With the middle of September providing continued warm weather, we hope that golf clubs across the country can keep the momentum going into the autumn.”