Fresh off the back of a record third quarter for golf rounds played across Great Britain, Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS) has revealed that October was another excellent month for the golf industry.

Provisional findings from 80 of the clubs in SMS’ full monitor of Rounds Played in England, Scotland and Wales indicated that overall, the month was up by over 65% compared to 2019. The exact growth figure will be revealed in the year-end results, which SMS will publish in January, 2021.

Like the third quarter findings, the October figures will make bittersweet reading for many across the golf industry.

On the one hand, as golf courses in England and parts of Scotland face four weeks without green fee, pro shop, or food and beverage revenues, it is encouraging to be reminded again of the extraordinary, and seemingly enduring, appetite for golf in 2020. The unprecedented demand witnessed since the end of the first lockdown bodes well for a strong December, as well as to a fast start to 2021.

On the other hand, with a mild month in progress, and with strong viewing figures for the first ever November Masters highlighting again the interest in golf, it is tempting to wonder what might have been had golf courses been allowed to remain open and build on five consecutive months of growth.

The third quarter figures,  showed that even accounting for April’s closures, the golf industry had rebounded to the extent that year-to-date rounds played were above 2019 levels. Whether November’s lost rounds plunge the annual figures back into decline, or whether the industry can mount another Tiger Woods like comeback in December, remains to be seen.

“Like many golfers around the country, our team were glued to the Masters coverage and eager to get back on the course,” said Richard Payne, Director at SMS.

“It was particularly great to see a truly international leaderboard with players from North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania all in contention over the course of the four days. Hopefully, men, women and children from around the world will be following the UK’s lead in flocking to play more golf in 2021,” he added.

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