It has been revealed that the decline in golf club membership in Scotland has slowed dramatically in the last year.
According to Scottish Golf, there were 500 fewer adult members at Scottish golf clubs during 2019, compared with a reduction of more than 5,500 from 2017 to 2018.
Indeed, between 2012 and 2018, it is reckoned that the number of golf club members in Scotland fell from close to 210,000 to just over 180,000. That works out at an average of nearly 5,000 a year.
Revealing the news at the Scottish Golf AGM – held digitally for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic – the organisation’s chair Eleanor Cannon added that the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and the re-opening of golf courses has coincided with a significant jump in new membership applications.
“We are getting very positive feedback from lots of clubs which are dealing with membership applications on a scale they’ve not seen for years,” said Cannon. “We have heard of clubs that have had over 80 new membership applications in the past few weeks and that’s a very welcome trend we hope continues throughout the year.
“Many of those applications are from golfers who would otherwise play as visitors, but we have also received reports of new applications from people who visited golf courses for the first time to walk and exercise during the lockdown and have been encouraged to join by the friendly responses they received from existing members.”
The AGM also heard that Scottish Golf has rebated £575,000 back to clubs across the country, helping them deal with the inevitable revenue shortfall caused by the COVID-19 lockdown. That is in addition to a £40,000 emergency fund, which was established to help clubs which have been particularly badly affected.