Survey reveals golf participation down from last year

Decline blamed on factors including severe weather conditions, the Rugby World Cup and Wimbledon's late start

An independent survey has revealed a decrease in golf participation across England, Wales and Scotland during the third quarter 2015.

The findings, made by research company Sports Marketing Surveys, show that the average number of rounds played is down 7% on the same quarter last year.

Scotland suffered the largest decline, with participation falling by 14% during months which yielded severe weather – such as that which forced The Open into a late Monday finish.

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Alongside the bad weather, the survey considers a number of other factors which could have contributed to the drop in rounds played during those months. 
There is still cause to be positive about golf participation this year" The Ashes series, World Athletics Championships and the start of the Rugby World Cup saw weekends occupied by sports other than golf, and there was also a later start of the Wimbledon Championships to contend with. The survey suggests that these events perhaps acted as a distraction to participation.

Commenting on the survey results, senior manager at SMS, Richard Payne, said: “Inclement weather and a variety of sporting events have taken their toll on rounds played for Q3 this year, although it is important to bear in mind that 2015 figures are still above those seen in 2013 and 2012.

“Looking at the year-to-date figures, there is still cause to be positive about golf participation this year with rounds remaining 1% up on 2014 and at the highest level for the last 4 years.”

The full survey found:

  • A year-on-year decrease in number of rounds played across England, Scotland and Wales in the 3rd quarter.
  • Participation down 7% on the 3rd quarter 2014.
  • Year-to-date total is still up 1% after a successful first half of the year, and remains the highest level in 4 years.
  • Scotland suffered the largest decrease in participation (24%).
  • Scotland’s year-to-date cumulative decrease has widened to 14%.

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