Golf Club update second quarter 2020

In June 2020 it was announced

  •  The UK has seen a membership surge at golf clubs following the resumption of golf after the lockdown, and many of the new members are aged 30 to 50. For example, Withington Golf Club in Manchester saw about 100 new member applications in the week after lockdown restrictions were lifted, and Kirkistown Castle Golf Club in Northern Ireland processed nearly 80 new members in a little over 48 hours.
  • A new survey has found that 144 private members’ golf clubs in the UK and Ireland are now in a ‘critical financial position’, following the Covid-19 lockdown. Eight percent of the 1800 clubs surveyed said their finances were now ‘critical’. A further 29% of clubs, or 522, classify their situation as ‘concerning’.
  • Four golf clubs, all in Ireland, closed down permanently during the lockdown. Killorglin Golf Club closed at the end of March after 28 years in operation, and Castleisland Golf Club went the same way, although there are attempts to amalgamate the two clubs into one entity. Meanwhile, Castle Barna Golf Club is to revert to agriculture use. Water Rock Golf Course in East Cork also closed down.

In May 2020 it was announced

  • Trefloyne GC in Pembrokeshire has prepared more than 1,000 free meals for NHS staff and offered hotel rooms for free use also for healthcare workers, while two members of Ferndown GC in Dorset ensured that tens of thousands of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) was given to the NHS for staff.
  • Brookmans Park GC in Hertfordshire provided a shopping service for both members and anyone else in the village who was unable to get to the shops for essential food and supplies. The Belfry Hotel and Resort in Warwickshire stated it will donate its entire green fee income on its first day of reopening to a number of UK charities, while Golspie GC in Sutherland said that it will donate 50% of its online bookings for 2021 to the NHS.
  • At least two closed English golf clubs were taken over by sheep during the Coronavirus lockdown – and the ruminants took on the grass cutting duties normally reserved for the furloughed greenkeepers. Avington Park Golf Course and Bramshaw Golf Club, both in southern England, showcased the hard-working animals on social media. There were about 100 sheep roaming and grazing on Avington Park’s 32 acre golf course. Bramshaw also saw the funny side of the invasion: ‘Been out there for a couple of days’, it wrote on twitter, ‘not doing any harm at the labour!’.
  • The Chief Executive of Scottish Golf, Andrew McKinlay, has resigned after two years in post, due to ‘the impact of Covid-19’.
  • Since April I have heard (not officially confirmed) that Toft GC, Killoglin GC, Castle Island GC, Castle Barna GC and Water Rock GC have closed – more news on these later.

In April 2020 it was announced

  • Several golf clubs and representatives of the golf industry have urged golf club members to continue paying their subscriptions despite them not being able to play during the Coronavirus lockdown. Now more than ever, members need to stick by their club.
  • Stapleford Park Country House Hotel, a Leicestershire golf course which has hosted tournaments for the European Senior Tour is to close down on October 31 st 2020, a spokeswoman stated the venue struggled with low membership numbers.
  • A US study into mortality among the over 65s in the 1990s, which has just been published, has found participants tended to live longer if they played golf at least once a month.
  • A Peter Alliss designed golf club, Aston Wood Golf Club in Sutton Coldfield, one of the most prestigious golf clubs in the Midlands, has been sold for just £58,000 to its landlord due to extreme market conditions and a clause in its lease. The club was turning over more than £1.75million pa just three years ago and was bought for £650,000 in 2000. The club had lost over 150 members since it was first put up for sale in 2008.