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Survey Finds Significant Cost Increases For Golfers In 2023

By: Golfshake Editor | Tue 02 Jan 2024

Our most recent survey focused on the consumer spending habits of over 1,600 avid golfers, comparing data from the 2023 survey with data previously captured 5 years ago in the 2018 annual Golfshake survey.  

With golf going through some rollercoaster times of late, navigating through economic challenges and the impact of COVID, followed by an unprecedented post-pandemic boom, the survey sheds light on the evolving behaviour of the golf consumer focusing on what they spend on, where they spend and how much they spend.

Key takeaways

  • Golfers spending more on golf-related purchases
  • Golf club membership fees have significantly increased, with more golfers paying over £1,000 per year.
  • There has been a shift from in-store retail purchases to online retailers for golf products.
  • More golfers are also purchasing via their PGA Pro
  • There has been an increase in the ownership of golf GPS devices

Golf Consumers

Survey Data Demographic - Age and Handicap

The cohort from 2023 was male-dominated (98%), which was similar to 2018, with this year's respondents slanting more towards golf club members (75%), compared to 60% in 2018, although age and handicap demographic data were similar.

2023 Data   2023 Data   2018 Data   2018 Data  
Age 55+ 67% Hcp < 10 21% Age 60+ 35% Hcp < 10 13%
Age 45-54 20% Hcp 10-20 54% Age 40-60 53% Hcp 10-20 53%
Age < 45 13% Hcp 20+ 25% Age < 40 12% Hcp 20+ 34%

Price Increases

The survey looked to capture the spending trends for everyday golfers, asking them to provide insights into their annual spending across several categories and it will come as little surprise to discover that golfers are paying considerably more for their golf in 2023.

Unsurprisingly, golf club membership is one of the biggest increases with most golfers now paying over £1,000 for their membership.

In 2018, 46.7% of the golf club members responding were paying £500-£1,000 for their golf club membership compared to 42.1% in 2023.  However, back in 2018, only 19.6% stated they were paying more than £1,000 for the annual golf membership. The figure for 2023 jumps considerably with a whopping 43.5% now paying more than £1,000 for their annual golf club membership.

Analysing the data further, similar increases for golf club members were also seen across other categories for annual spending when comparing 2018 to 2023.

  • Golf breaks £500+ up from 31% to 43% an increase of 38.7%
  • Golf balls £100+ up from 18.3% to 34.2% an increase of 86.3%
  • Golf practice £100+ up from 30.4% to 45.1% an increase of 48%
  • Golf clothing £100+ up from 53.4% to 67.8% an increase of 27%

For the non-club members surveyed, it was a similar story in terms of annual expenditure increases for golf green fees with the majority spending well over £500 per year.

  • Golf green fees £500+ up from 36.1% to 46.8% an increase of 36.1%
  • Golf breaks £500+ up from 25.9% to 31.5% an increase of 25.9%
  • Golf balls £100+ up from 9.4% to 21.3% an increase of 126.38%
  • Golf practice £100+ up from 21.5% to 41.7% an increase of 94.19%
  • Golf clothing £100+ up from 37.2% to 48.7% an increase of 30.9%

This data will likely come as no surprise given the fallout following the pandemic and the ongoing economic shift and inflation increases affecting every business resulting in expected price rises.

Purchasing Trends

The data provided additional insights to back up post-pandemic analysis and acceptance in terms of consumer purchasing habits.  Those surveyed represented an avid cohort of golfer providing valuable broad insights for golf retail spending.  What is clearly evident, when asking golfers where they purchase their golf products from, was the shift away from bricks and mortar retail stores to an increased usage of online retailers since 2018.

What may also come as some positive news for the green grass golf pros out there was the increase in PGA pro use.

Golfers asked - "Where do you usually buy golf equipment from"

Where buy golf gear

Spending Habits

Ignoring the obvious price increases over the last five years, spending habits appear to largely remain unchanged in terms of frequency for golfers purchasing new products. Most categories across golf accessories and golf equipment remained fairly similar in terms of how often golfers were purchasing new product.

The only notable shift in terms of spending habits appears to be the increase in changing golf grips.

Golfers asked - "On average how often do you purchase new accessories"

Golfers asked - "On average how often do you purchase new golf equipment"



Not All Golfers Are The Same

The data from 2023 and also when compared to 2018, provided some additional insights when analysing specific brands and golf equipment.

Largely due to the age demographic it wasn't a major shock to discover 59% of the respondents own an electric golf trolley. However, there is clearly an age shift when the data is broken down over ages.

  • Age under 45 – 23.5% own an electric golf trolley
  • Age 45-64 – 57.1% own an electric golf trolley
  • Age over 65 – 74.1% own an electric golf trolley

Further insights were evident when comparing golf GPS data to past survey data in 2017, with 79% now stating that they own some form of golf GPS compared to just 62% previously. Garmin was by far the largest GPS brand, although the 2023 showed a notable rise for ShotScope which was largely new to the market back in 2017.

Whilst those owning a GPS was high (79%), it was interesting to see that 36% owned a golf laser and 29% of those responding stated that they owned both a GPS and a Laser.

And lastly, when it comes to emerging trends, similar to ShotScope, there were notable increases in the 2023 data for both Under Armour and Skechers when we asked about golf shoes. Neither really factored into the data from the 2017 survey but both had a strong presence in our most recent survey – evidence to show how brands can make inroads into an existing market.


For additional insights, bespoke data analysis and brand analysis, please email [email protected] to discuss further.

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What do you think? post your thoughts and feedback on the Golfshake Forum: https://forum.golfshake.com/

Tags: Survey industry insider Golf daily picks

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