(pic credit: Andy Hiseman / Harewood Downs GC)
In the fortnight following the relaxation of restrictions around playing golf due to COVID-19, Sports Marketing Surveys undertook a survey among UK core golfers to assess the impact the virus and lockdown has had on attitudes towards the sport, changes in behaviour due to the pandemic and future plans regarding playing golf, purchasing equipment and taking golf breaks.
The following findings focus on golfers’ views regarding returning to golf...
1. Aside from simply playing, it was the social element of playing the game that golfers missed the most with three quarters stating that this was one of the elements that they had missed during lockdown.
Over 60% of golf club members stated that they missed the 'competition' involved in golf compared to only 18% of independent golfers.
2. Female golfers and younger respondents were more likely to state that they have missed “being in the fresh air” as the element of the sport they miss.
3. Golf has a huge opportunity due to its perceived safety as an activity within social distancing guidelines.
Golfers feel that the sport is extremely safe with 76% of respondents rating the safety of playing golf within social distancing guidelines as either 9 or 10 out of 10.
For context, only 4% feel the same (9/10 out of 10) about team sports, 3% going to the gym and 5% dining out. Even meeting family / friends in person only saw 29% of the sample rate safety as at least 9 out of 10.
45% of core golfers will try to encourage more of their family to play golf in the future, post-coronavirus.
4. Golf club membership and/or affiliation towards a "home" club will see immediate uplifts.
Over a third of golfers believe they will play MORE at their golf club this year than 2019 which coincides with a similar percentage stating that they are less likely to visit other golf courses and pay a green fee.
5. Coronavirus will have little impact on the number of golf lessons being taken for the remainder of 2020 with half of the sample stating they will have the same number as in 2019 and a similar percentage intending to have more lessons as there are planning to reduce the number.
26% of golfers stated that they would be interested in having virtual lessons in the future.
6. Of those reducing the amount of golf activity they are planning on doing in 2020, social distancing is the primary factor with almost three times as many individuals (70%) selecting this as the reason compared to price/cost or any other reason.
7. Perceived future clubhouse usage will not change much as a result of coronavirus. Over half of the sample believe they will use the clubhouse and other facilities (e.g. halfway house) as often as they did previously and there are as many who say they plan to use them more often as there are who will reduce their usage.