Here’s the top three things I learnt about the industry during May
3. Some major investors are willing to put their money into UK golf clubs.
We may have had several years of doom and gloom about the state of the UK golfing industry, but things could be worse.
Just days after Turnberry was sold for nearly £40 million, reports appeared that De Vere wants to sell all six of its golfing resorts, including Cameron House in Loch Lomond, for about £160 million.
It is thought that a clutch of private equity firms, including KSL Capital Partners, which bought The Belfry two years ago, will bid for the clubs. Has the tide now turned?
2. Always read the email once more before pressing send.
In May Wimbledon Park GC emailed its members to reveal the results of a recent competition – and it became a national story.
Next to the name of the winner of the nearest the pin competition were the words ‘cheating ****’.
To make matters even worse, the member accused of cheating had sued another member at the club in 2013 – because he had sent an email accusing him of cheating.
The story got picked up by the Mail on Sunday, while the club has (wisely) not made a comment beyond saying it is carrying out an internal investigation.
1. Women will save golf.
Golf has been in freefall for more than a decade, with membership collectively down in England alone by more than 169,000 since 2003, and several clubs have closed down.
Five percent (640,000 women) of all women aged 19 to 64 have said they are ‘very interested’ in taking up golf this summer and research suggests that women introduce other women, and children, to golf when they start playing it.
The UK currently has one of the lowest ratios of female golfers in the world, with just 14 percent of all golf club members being adult women, so it is well placed for a revolution.
But first we need to get rid of all the barriers that prevent women and girls taking up golf.