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Anne Photograp News 2024

Participation declines in the first quarter |  The golf business
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Participation declines in the first quarter | The golf business

Golf participation in England, Scotland and Wales was slightly lower in the first quarter of 2024 than in the two previous years.

This comes after a wet autumn and winter in which many golf clubs had to close their courses for a number of days. Despite this, participation was still well above the first quarter of 2020, in which the first lockdown was only introduced in the second half of March.

There was one last year too year-on-year participation fell in the first quarter – And the year turned out to be a great year.

The average monthly number of rounds played per course in England, Wales and Scotland in January, February and March was 1,385, Sporting Insights reports.

Compared to the same period in 2023, this represents a decrease of 14 percent. The biggest impact was felt in the Midlands and Northern England, although the latter showed green shoots in the form of year-on-year growth in March.

Scotland and southern England experienced a single-digit percentage decline in 2023 compared to the first quarter. However, it should be noted that 2023 saw strong performance in February and March. That March 2024 will see a 3% year-on-year decline is a decent result and should not be interpreted as a reason for pessimism as golf approaches the critical summer period.

“A few things are important to keep in mind,” says Richard Payne, co-director of Sporting Insights.

“First, there is the relative strength of 2023 and 2022 as we look at any downward shifts in performance. For example, March is still ahead of 2019 figures.

“The second is that, while not unimportant – in fact the appetite for winter golf reflects the hardiness of so many British golfers – the first quarter rounds are dwarfed by the summer figures which are on average two to three times higher than we saw in the first see quarterly. This is more than enough time for the year to end in growth. Finally, it’s worth pointing out that, like any outdoor sport, there are fluctuations in participation. This is the first quarter in which the number of rounds played has decreased year-on-year since the first quarter of last year. If the declines in rounds played continue throughout the year there may be conversations that the industry needs to have, but it is far too early to worry at this stage.”