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Rounds played in Britain soar as golfers emerge from lockdown

A tee time has been a golfer's golden ticket since courses reopened. But just how many of us have been playing since lockdown eased?
 

Anyone who’s tried to get a tee time will know how golf has boomed following the reopening of clubs from the coronavirus lockdown.

Whether that’s reports of membership surging, or a whole day’s spots being snapped up in minutes, there’s been plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest the sport has been thriving – at least in terms of the people trying to play.

But we can now put a figure to that demand after new statistics revealed just how much players have taken to the fairways in the weeks after restrictions were eased.

Sports Marketing Surveys collected data from more than 100 courses in May to try and get some insights into whether golf really was bouncing back.

Last month, they reported how the wet winter and the lockdown had contributed to a 31 per cent drop in rounds played in the first quarter of 2020 compared with the same period a year previously.

The company’s rounds played monitor usually tracks the volume of rounds being played quarterly at a consistent panel of 250 courses throughout Great Britain.

To make a fair comparison, SMS said they had only monitored data with clubs that had submitted figures in 2018, 2019, and this year and adjusted them to reflect the number of days the course was open in May.

“The results show that rounds played across GB have seen an impressive average uplift of circa 40 per cent compared to a similar amount of days in 2019 and over 30 per cent compared to 2018,” they reported.

“The South region has seen the greatest increase with high demand in the second half of May fuelling 2020 figures that are a staggering 51 per cent higher than the equivalent period in 2019.”

SMS added, in the light of fourball golf now being back, with more people now working from home, and social distancing more easily being achieved on a golf course, they would be “closely monitoring” to see whether the increase could be sustained this month and through the rest of the summer.

For more, visit Sports Marketing Surveys’ website.

What do you think of the figures? Have you struggled to get a tee-time or have you been on the course every day since May 13? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me.

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Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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