The average number of rounds of golf played at courses across Great Britain was down 9% compared to Q2 2021. Despite this, the numbers continue to highlight growth above pre-pandemic levels.
A strong Q1 means that even with the Q2 numbers, rounds played in Great Britain are up 24% compared to the first half of 2021, although it is worth remembering that the first quarter of last year was affected by ongoing lockdowns, while April-June benefitted from the easing of restrictions and working from home.
Viewed even in their fuller historical context, the Q2 2022 figures represent a strong industry performance. April and May’s national rounds were the highest in the last five years with the exception of 2021.
This explains why rounds played remain up 19% in Q2 compared to 2019. That in turn indicates, encouragingly, that many of the new golfers attracted during and after lockdowns, including through successful efforts from governing bodies to change perceptions of the game, remain engaged.
The North was the best performing region in Q2 2022, down only 1% compared to 2021, but up 51% against 2019.
“We do expect growth against 2021 to continue to slow in the second half of the year”, cautioned Richard Payne, director of SMS. “Q2 2021 was an exceptional time, with the release from lockdown but still widespread working from home. We also expect the cost of living crisis to have an effect on leisure spend, in golf and other sports. This is likely to affect visitor rounds and equipment sales first, with many having already paid memberships for the rest of 2022, but there will undoubtedly be pressure on renewals in the coming months. So, whether rounds played can remain above 2019 is, in our view, one of the key metrics to look out for over the next six months and into 2023.”
Sports Marketing Surveys has been tracking rounds played in Great Britain for over 20 years. The methodology is designed to ensure that comparisons with previous years remain accurate even as the sample of courses evolves. As of 2022, Sports Marketing Surveys is also partnered with The Revenue Club to widen the scope of the research.
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