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The Effects of Coronavirus on the Golf Industry

The coronavirus outbreak forced businesses across all industries to undergo operational changes. Regulations were put in place by governments, limiting business and social activities for people around the globe. The leisure industry had become obsolete for a number of months, due to strictly enforced health and safety rules. This left a mark on the industry, for which business was put on hold as a result of shutdowns.

The sports industry has been challenged during the pandemic, and the sudden halt in all activities has hurt businesses and employment. As business were put on hold, it is expected that golf courses might not recover from the financial loss and therefore close for good. Although a competitive advantage for other courses, the closing of golf courses is a huge consequent loss for the industry, but also for employees and members. Golf is an expensive sport to keep alive, courses need tremendous financial and human resources to be run and maintained.

However, for courses who have managed to pull through, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. During these challenging times of enforced lockdown, many have been feeling the need for the great outdoors. The very nature of golf makes it an attractive sport to those in need of fresh air and physical activity, as safety measures like social distancing can easily be implemented with no impact on the game. Courses across the UK, and most likely the world, will see an increase in demand. This higher demand can be a double-edged sword. In fact, as the full re-opening process begins, the more members and visitors join, the busier the courses will be. This can be a major inconvenience for players, although the rise in memberships is indisputably beneficial to the courses and the industry as a whole.

Although the demand might be higher, courses may decide whether to accept new members, or on the contrary, limit the number of golfers to ensure everyone’s safety. The risks of the pandemic are far from gone, and enforcing limitations is a way for courses to not put the employees’ or players’ health at risk. Limiting the number of people on the course does not only apply to players, but also to other services the courses may offer. In fact, some golf courses have diverse sources of income, such as hosting events and weddings, which can bring important sums of money to the business.

As a result of coronavirus, such events were or will have to be cancelled/postponed, making this source of income unreliable for courses. Moreover, directly linked to the sport, golf tournaments will see some changes in the way they are organised and held. Host courses will be obligated to put in place extra measures following the new safety standards of the industry, provided tournaments are allowed to resume in the near future.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a heavy impact on the golf industry, following which organisational measures will need to be introduced. Besides the undisputed financial toll golf has taken from the pandemic, the future of the golf industry is looking bright. As golfers around the globe safely return to the courses, greatly missed social interactions will resume, and the industry will return to what will be known as the “new normal”.