Doldrums in the First Half

    After a difficult 2012 in the golf industry, the last thing the trade needed was a long, freezing winter, but that is exactly what it got. Richard Payne (pictured), senior manager at SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC., provides Golf Retailing with an exclusive review of rounds played in Great Britain in the first half of 2013.

    Doldrums in the First Half

    Research among golf clubs in Great Britain carried out by SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC. has shown just how hard the golf industry was hit by inclement weather earlier this year. The average number of rounds of golf played across Great Britain during the first quarter of 2013 was down 31.9% on 2012, due to the first three months of the year being dominated by ‘non-playable’ conditions. Regionally, the Midlands was worst hit within the British Isles, with rounds down by 38.2%.


    January was particularly bad across Great Britain, with widespread snowfall and rounds down 41.9% on 2012, reaching as much as 50% in the Midlands. February was a drier month with rounds played much more level with 2012, but then rain and snow returned with force during the coldest March since 1962, reducing average rounds played to a 44.1% drop on 2012 across Great Britain.

    The second quarter of 2013 showed improvement, with year-on-year quarterly figures showing an increase for the first time in a year – by 5.6% on 2012 for average rounds played. The regional exception was Scotland, which endured a 7.2% decrease on last year. April saw an overall increase of 2.3%, but with average rounds still below the figures from 2009 to 2011, before the coldest May since 1996 led to average rounds dropping to an all-time low, 1.2% below 2012’s previous low mark. Then the weather and rounds played began to pick up significantly in June, showing a year-on-year increase of 15.9% across Great Britain, with an average of 3,100 rounds played per course. Year on year, rounds in the north increased by 40%.


    Editor’s Comment:
    As much as the first quarter of 2013 was a depressing period for golf retailers, the figures for the third quarter – once they are compiled – should show a significant increase on rounds played in 2012, after what Met Office records show to have been the driest, warmest and sunniest summer since 2006 in the UK. At the time of writing at the beginning September, as schools return, the sunshine still beams into the Golf Retailing office, and hopefully consumer golf spend will be similarly bright.

    Golf clubs in Great Britain that are interested in contributing to the SMS INC. monitor of golf participation will receive the full report in return. Clubs should contact Richard Payne:

    T: 01932 345 539



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    Miles is the Owner and Managing Director of Robel Media, and the award winning GOLF RETAILING Magazine. With over 25 years in the media business, Miles has a wealth of experience in magazine publishing, digital media and live events. HANDICAP - 7.2