Golf’s leading provider of tee time management booking technology, BRS Golf, and the world’s biggest tee time marketplace, GolfNow, have reported a strong first half of 2023 for both member play and visitor play in the UK and Ireland, with more rounds played so far this year than in the whole of 2019.

Together BRS Golf and GolfNow provide tee time booking solutions to 1,500 golf clubs across England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, making the tech giant one of the largest and most trusted sources of participation data for golf in the British Isles.

Member participation remains strong

1 January – 30 June 2023, BRS Golf processed 13.6 million member rounds. A 13% increase vs the same period in 2022.

Comparing rounds booked in 2023 with pre-pandemic levels in 2019, an extra 6.7M were played in 2023. To put the total rounds into context, there have been more rounds played in the first half of this year than the whole of 2019.

Member rounds by country

· England: 6.6 million rounds

· Ireland: 2.9 million rounds

· Scotland: 2.3 million rounds

· Northern Ireland: 1 million rounds

· Wales: 723,000 rounds

Overall membership numbers see small decline but still buoyant

In 2022 we thought the cost of living crisis might precipitate a decline in membership, however in 2023 we have seen only a small drop (less than 1%) in registered members. Overall membership numbers are healthy as golfers continue to renew.

The following numbers are based on those clubs who were live and transacting in December 2022, and do not include any new clubs signed up to BRS Golf over Q1 and Q2 2023. Based on this sample set of clubs the total registered members number has dropped by 4,000 over the course of January – June 2023.

· 41 percent of these lost members have been in Ireland and Northern Ireland

· 17 percent in Scotland

· 42 percent in England

· Wales remains flat

In Ireland and Northern Ireland there were 15 clubs who lost 100+ members and 25 who have lost more than 50 but less than 100. While in Scotland, nine clubs saw a decrease of more than 100 members and 14 clubs more than 50, but less than 100 members. And in England, 25 clubs saw their member numbers decline by 100+ and 24 clubs by more than 50 but less than 100 members. Taking a closer look at England, the drop in registered members has been felt mostly in the South and the Midlands, with the North of England seeing a small increase in total registered members.

Visitor numbers continue to increase

In 2023, GolfNow has generated over £7.8 million in green fee revenue for its course partners, with three consecutive months of £1 million+  in Q2. These were the biggest months since the post lockdown booms of 2020.

GolfNow bookings are up 17% YOY and new bookers have increased by 7%, with total bookings by new bookers up a staggering 39%. Research undertaken this year reveals that 41% of GolfNow bookers in 2023 are golf club members, 31% have never been club members and 28% were members until recently. Outside of their tee time spend, GolfNow bookers tend to also send money in the clubhouse of food, drink and pro shop services, with 47% spending £10-24pp and 24% spending £25-49pp.

With operating costs still high, clubs may want to consider bridging the gap with incremental visitor green fee revenue. You can contact your dedicated GolfNow account manager for any help on best pricing practice and in-depth knowledge of your own geographical golf market. If your club isn’t currently listed on GolfNow, contact our sales team for more information.

Download your copy of the Q2 Participation Report for 2023

On the latest episode of the Golf Club Talk UK, Karen and Kevin from BRS Golf walk through the findings. Listen here.