UK & Ireland Market Overview – October 2021
In the typically wet and warm month of October 2021, visitor green fee sales at UK and Irish courses dropped by 21% from September to an average of £8,927 per club. This was a smaller month on month reduction to the previous year which encountered a sharper drop of 26% in October 2020. It follows a similar trend to the year to date which has been characterised by a more consistent volume of sales from one month to the next with less volatile external factors.
Average sales were 13% down on last October which is also in keeping with summer trends and illustrates the slightly lower demand across the domestic markets. The average UK and Irish golf course still remains 8% ahead of their 2020 sales with a full month of growth to come against the lockdown of November 2020. This should cement the overall increase in sales for the majority of courses although the recent heavy rain and unpredictability of the weather at this time of year could hinder sales at the start of the winter season.
The average green fee at UK courses was up by £1.69 per person on last October to £21.75. This has led to a healthy £5 increase per booking to £49.76 which is the highest recorded and shows how the industry continues to develop with raised prices to take advantage of the high volume of sales. It is also indicative of the slowdown in cheaper twilight sales that tends to happen late in the season with the reduction of daylight hours.
Demand on booking engines reduced in line with sales by 18% from September and 28% on the previous year. This is a more significant year on year drop than the summer months when the volume of traffic was more in keeping with the previous year and could indicate that golf courses could be more susceptible to the post Covid-19 slowdown in the winter season as fairweather golfers elect not to play.
November 2021 presents an excellent opportunity for courses to generate additional year on year growth, and as Covid cases increase across the UK again, it could present favourable conditions for golf courses with caution around indoor activities. One point to bear in mind is that December 2020 sales were very strong due to the lockdowns in November and January so it may be challenging to keep pace with the previous year.
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