What Stops Golfers Playing More?
Each year, the Golfshake Survey gathers a wealth of information from thousands of respondents, providing us with an insight behind the widespread views and habits of regular golfers, both club members and nomadic players, which is more or less a 50-50 split. Part of the motivation of this endeavour was to understand the varying importance of key issues – including cost, slow play and dress codes – to identify what stops keen golfers from playing more often, whether they be a club member or non-club affiliated.
You can see our previous survey related features on How to Increase Golf Club Memberships and How Do Club and Non-Club Members Differ, which cover many similar topics, but here we ask; What Stops Golfers Playing More?
Being the member of a golf club is the most obvious route to playing more rounds each year, but the cost of a membership was deemed prohibitive to non-club golfers, especially those of younger demographics and those who have only played the game for five years. This suggests that greater efforts are required when it comes to setting affordable categories for young people and to attract newer players to a venue. Many clubs have led the way in this area, but the perception does remain established, particularly when you see the number of people who cite the attitudes of other golfers as being a potentially significant barrier. Inclusiveness and openness are paramount to drawing new and younger people.
How big an issue is...
For club members, the pace of play during competitive rounds was a frequently disclosed frustration, who also cited the time taken in professional event as being a negative for the game. This can be broken down even further to identify those aged in their 50s and 60s, and golfers who have played for over a decade, as being the main demographic who find pace to be an issue. Whether it be through course setups, the organisation of tee times, and better awareness of schemes like Ready Golf, the majority of golfers generally believe that the game should be played more quickly.
The cost of green fees was a factor almost equally split between club and non-club golfers, particularly those of a younger age, with each demographic being united in their view that the condition of some courses isn’t to a satisfactory level. This could be read as venues simply not delivering a perfect value for money as it relates to visiting or nomadic golfers paying to play, clearly a greater challenge during the difficult weather months of winter.
Club & Non-Club Golfers...
Not surprisingly, time away from family or partner is most cited by those aged between 30 and 40, and is significantly less of a problem for younger and senior golfers. Ultimately, this may be an insurmountable barrier for the game when it comes to players facing natural time pressures, but there could be scope to improve other areas that potentially benefit these golfers, in addition to making clubs even more welcoming to families.
In terms of less significant factors, dress codes and the quality and availability of food were the least common reasons noted, indicating that the game has improved in these areas, or that either issue wouldn’t prevent a golfer from playing more often. Most likely, the truth is somewhere in the middle, but the takeaway is that cost, pace of play and conditions are what generally holds golfers – across all demographics – back from playing more frequently.
The Age of Golfers...
There are many different ways to read our 2018 Golfshake Survey data, and the factors vary across each age group, but there are standout issues that the game needs to address if keen golfers are to spend more of their time and money at the golf course.
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