Covid-19’s impact: A participation boost that hasn’t been seen since Tiger’s arrival

In a GCMA Hot Topics webinar, associate partners BRS Golf revealed the huge scale of the pandemic participation boost... Covid-19s impact on golf has been so huge it’s been compared to Tiger Woods’ epoch-defining arrival to the sport in the late 90s. In a GCMA Hot Topics webinar, BRS Golf Market Data Analyst Kevin Murray said the pandemic has brought changes to the game over the last two years not seen since Tigermania transformed both perception and participation in the wake of his first Masters triumph 25 years ago. Outlining the impact of the pandemic on golf in the UK and Ireland, which has seen the number of registered members on BRS software rise by nearly 30 percent between 2019 and 2021, Murray said: “The world changed. Golf changed. In my opinion, the impact of Covid can be likened to the Tiger impact in the late 90s and early noughties. “DJ [Dustin Johnson] said last week, when Tiger was being inducted into Hall of Fame, that Tiger made golf cool. With Covid being an airborne disease, being out in the fresh air was one way to combat it. We could stay together while keeping apart effectively on the golf course. “That, combined with lockdown, sport off and bars closed, meant golf became the go to sport. Thousands flocked back to golf. More people took it up who had never played before and those who played, played a little more.” BRS Golf provide tee sheet facilities for more than 1,500 golf clubs – effectively half of all those in the UK and Ireland – and, against a period of stagnant decline before 2020, Murray revealed some astonishing figures which revealed the mammoth scale of golf’s growth over the last 24 months. He admitted that the numbers were so big, particularly surrounding increases in member rounds played, the BRS Golf team had check them again to make sure they weren’t double counting. Some of the highlights included: The number of members registered with a BRS Golf club rose from 554,000 at the end of 2019 to 705,000 in 2021 – an increase of 27 per cent There were 23 million member rounds played in 2021, compared with 13.5 million in 2019 - a 70 per cent increase. Given there was an extensive lockdown which shut courses in England, Wales and Ireland in the early part of last year, that total averaged out to an extra million rounds for every month golf was open The average number of rounds played per member jumped from between 22 and 24 between 2017 and 2019 to just shy of 35 in 2020 and 33 in 2021 – a 43 per cent increase year on year 2019 to 2020 The number of registered female members on the BRS Golf platform rose from 140,000 in 2018 to 210,000 last year There was a considerable increase in the number of younger people playing golf, particularly in the 18-34 and 18-24 age range, with it now representing almost 30...
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