Golfers Thoughts On Golf Being Back With Restrictions
The golf industry was taken somewhat by surprise when courses in England were permitted to reopen so quickly, but since Wednesday, tee times have been snapped up by golfers who had been longing for the return of the game, following nearly two months of lockdown in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, while golf balls are now being struck again, things aren't quite as we knew them, restrictions are in place, established potentially for months ahead, limiting tee times, enforcing social distancing, and shutting down clubhouse access.
But what do the golfers themselves think about all this? Before play resumed, between 4 May and 12 May, Golfshake surveyed 1,562 respondents, gathering their views on the guidelines, their willingness to venture back to clubs, and their thoughts on the future as we collectively emerge from lockdown.
Demographically, the golfers who responded are broken down:
- 70% Club Members, 30% Unattached Golfers
- 12% Aged Under 44, 54% Aged 45-64, 34% Aged 65+
- 96% Male
Here are the questions we asked complete with results.
Once some form of normality returns which three leisure activities are you most looking forward to doing?
- 100% - Golf (Obviously!)
- 56% - Meeting Friends
- 52% - Going on a Holiday/Short Break
- 34% - Going to a Restaurant
Additional responses including seeing family, hugging grandchildren, going to the pub, going to the gym and going fishing.
When would you be happy playing golf again?
- 46% - Would Have Played at the Time of the Survey (4th May - 12th May)
- 43% - Once Guidance Allows
- 10% - Only Once the Risk is Reduced or a Vaccine Available
This reflects the keenness expressed by the majority of golfers, but 10% are more hesitant, first waiting to see how things play out in the weeks ahead.
Once back playing how long do you think the guidelines will exist?
- 13.6% - First 3 Months
- 32.4% - 3- 6 Months
- 26.3% - 6-12 Months
- 7.3% - 12 Months+
- 20.4% - Until There is a Vaccine
Ultimately, while no one knows for certain, a majority of golfers see the current guidelines lasting for at least the remainder of this season.
Do you think golfers will follow guidelines and rules to play?
- 13.2% - Said No
That's a small but significant percentage of golfers who don't have faith in their fellow players. It will be fascinating to see what the view is now that the game has returned and the guidelines are enforced.
How will playing golf for you be affected once restrictions are lifted?
- 65.8% - It Won't, I Will Resume Normal Golf Activity
- 16.3% - I Plan to Play More Than I Would Normally
- 3.7% - I'm in a Vulnerable Category So Will Not Play Until Further Notice
- 10.1% - I'm Not a Member and Concerned I May Not be Able to Get Access to Tee Times
There are understandable concerns at the moment for older and vulnerable golfers, who aren't rushing back to play, and the question of how visitor golfers can secure tee times is likely to be a controversial topic for weeks to come, as clubs look to maximise revenue while also rewarding members.
Once back playing which three areas do you think will impact you the most?
- 69% - Golf Availability - courses too busy, lack of tee times etc
- 61% - Social Interaction - group size, playing partners, society events
- 43% - Facility Access - club opening, locker access, clubhouse & pro shop access
- 32% - Competitions - club medals, competitions & tournaments
- 28% - Golf Breaks - trips, travelling and golf holidays
- 27% - Golf Outings - visiting other courses & away days
- 19% - Golf Club Viability - club finances to continue running
- 8% - Course Access - limited buggy use
Access to tee times is a significant worry for a lot of golfers, who also cite the reduction in group sizes and clubhouse closures impacting the popular social element of the game. Present guidelines will ensure that particular sense of normality won't return for a significant time.
How far will you be happy to travel within the first three months of restrictions lifting?
- 23.5% - Only Local Within 5 Miles
- 44.8% - Within An Hour
- 5.8% - Within a Few Hours
- 20.4% - Happy to Travel Anywhere So Long As Deemed Safe
The majority of golfers are only willing to travel within a relatively short distance this summer, but that may change when further government advice is revealed. However, it's clear that most players are content to say near home for now.
Do you plan to increase spending at your golf club to help support them?
- 25% - Yes
- 60% - No, will spend the same
- 3% - No, will reduce spending
- 12% - Not sure
Consumer confidence will be an important factor to analyse in the months ahead, whether spending remains the same, a key thing for clubs and venues that have lost revenue this year.
Let us know what your thoughts are on these questions, and whether views have changed since golf reopened in England.
What do you think? leave your comments below (Comments)