Golf in the rough as boom ends
MILLIONS of viewers will tune into the Masters golf tournament this week. But though golf may be a growth sport for the couch potato, fewer people are swinging a club; write John Waples and James Hughes.
According to an authoritative new report from Golf Research, the golf boom is over. Club memberships are falling and joining fees are down by a third. The number of rounds played at municipal courses has fallen from an average 46,000 rounds at each course in 1995 to 34,000 rounds last year, a fall of 26%.
Private courses are feeling the pinch as well. The proportion of clubs with no joining fees has risen from 22% to 32%, and the average joining fee has fallen 42% to £251.
“Private clubs … have had to rethink their position with the rise in the number of golf clubs,” said Scott Jarvis, sales manager at the Belfry, a premier hotel and golf course. “They have become far more flexible with their prices.”
In America, says Colin Hegarty of Golf Research, club membership is down though Tiger Woods has lifted television viewing by 80%.