Originally I was going to write a post about the state of the game and the perceived decline in the number of people playing golf. This was all inspired by a BBC article regarding Andy Murray and the attention he has gained from becoming Tennis’ No.1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/golf/37899384
So I began my research and came across so many facts and figures and different opinions that I decided it was going to take longer than I thought to reach a valid conclusion. So I narrowed my aim and decided to address the topic of money.
For some fortunate people this simply isn’t a problem. I’ve been to clubs, as I’m sure we all have, where annual membership fees are close to £3000, a caddy service is provided and everyone is teeing off with the latest Ping, Callaway or Titleist driver. Obviously this isn’t the case everywhere you go and you can quite easily find a club with a membership fee closer to £500. But that is still £500. Add on top the cost of a set of clubs, a bag, some golf shoes and a couple of lessons to get you on your way and its not unreasonable to suggest that people are having to fork out around £1000 before they even hit a ball. To put that in to perspective, I could spend Christmas in New York for that kind of money, especially given what has happened this morning. *Cough Trump.
Okay not every golfer in the UK is going to be paying for membership as they don’t play often enough to warrant it. But they will still have to buy the equipment and expect to pay at least £15 for a round.
I’ll stop rambling on now and provide you with some statistics. The data I am about to give has been attained from mainly two articles that I suggest if you have the time you should read: https://www.golfenvironment.org/assets/0003/3125/syngenta_growing_golf_in_the_uk_summary_report.pdf
According to Sports Market Surveys INC, in 2014 there were 3,301,000 adult golfers who played at least one round in 2014. Compare this to 2006 and there were 4,083,000. Thats not far of 1 million more. On the other hand the number of rounds played by golfers on the whole is up. This however is largely due to the avid golfers, of which there are estimated to be 492,000, simply playing more rounds.
What does this tell us?
Well its simple, there are simply less people, mainly non-members, playing the game.
This is where I refer to the Golf Environment article. They questioned over 3,500 golfers, lapsed golfers and non golfers to gather data which could be used to help grow the game. And arguably their most significant finding related back to cost.
When questioned, 38% of participants said they would be more encouraged to play the sport if it wasn’t so expensive. This factor alone was the biggest reason why people aren’t playing. For those avid golfers that play the game because they love it so much, this isn’t a problem. But for the 2.5 million others and the millions that might want to take up the sport this is a big problem. And it works the other way too. 36% of the people questioned said the main reason for them leaving the sport was due to cost. It doesn’t stop there: of the non-golfers questioned, 58% of them said the main reason for them not playing is due to the cost of the game.
If this many people aren’t playing or are leaving the game of golf due to cost then surely something has to be done about it. There are clubs out there that arguably don’t need to because they are situated in affluent areas whose members have a lot of money. But if golf wants to be seen to appeal to everyone then surely this is an area of the game that needs to be questioned.
I don’t want to go on about Grip Pro, but as you’re here reading the post on our website I will. We offer just one simple solution to just one part of the game and that is grips. We make looking after them cheaper and more affordable and in doing so we hope we are making this part of golf more accessible to more people. There are different areas of the game that are also trying to help, club rental systems for example. If everyone got on board then maybe we would see those numbers talked about at the start of this article start to rise!