Booking Patterns | Post Lockdown Vs 2019
January, February, Quarantine, October….
You would be forgiven for thinking the world stopped on 16 March 2020. To a certain extent, it did. In mid-March the UK and Ireland became the latest nations to announce a full lockdown. The result? A ‘new normal’.
Health and safety comes first and after weeks of planning, governing bodies started to issue their plans to reintroduce golf into the COVID-era, safely. Golfers around the country were ready. They had been taking divots out of gardens, smashing plant pots and putting in hallways for almost eight weeks at this stage. The demand to hit the course was incredible and participation in golf was reaching new heights!
To understand how golf trends in this ‘new normal’, GolfNow has taken a deep dive into our unparalleled pool of market intelligence (gathered from over 1,800 golf courses across UK & Ireland!) to ascertain what changed in golfers’ booking behaviours post lockdown. Can your club relate to our findings?
Days of Play
Traditions have changed. Monday and Tuesdays, oftentimes the quieter days at the club can no longer be assumed to gather less footfall. We’ve recognised a huge shift in booking patterns when assessing day-to-day bookings. In 2020 we registered an increase of over 58,000 round bookings on Monday and Tuesdays! Our Southern England golfers are particularly keen on early-week play!
The professional game was a trailblazer in returning to competitive play and for the majority of May the PGA Tour was the only professional competitive sport televised. Those Sunday nights in front of Sky Sports Golf may be inspiring a new breed of early week golfers!
Hours of Play
We can complain all we want about the hours of daylight in the winter, but we really are spoilt when it comes to summer play, with golfers able to complete 18-holes as late as 6pm in some parts. Has lockdown shifted peak times? We had a look and started to think about how the world has changed and how it can impact play at our favourite courses.
Early morning trips to the course remain popular, but we are noticing an increase in late afternoon tee times. Almost a third of tee times booked between May and September in 2020 were for rounds teeing off after 3pm. Over a 4% shift from the same period last year.
Work From Home lifestyles suggest more flexibility in work patterns and a golfer’s ability to get on the course almost immediately after that laptop shuts! 28% of play on a Friday has come after 3pm!
With season change and shorter days up ahead we expect afternoons to remain popular over the next few weeks. With those shorter days in mind, perhaps an attractive Friday afternoon 9-hole option for play could be developed at your club?
When the bell rang on the afternoon of Friday 13 March, very few of us felt our kids wouldn’t be back in the classrooms until September. Our golfers were ready though! We’re recognising a sharp spike in rounds played between 9am-3pm now that schools have returned.
Who are we to judge? Anyone that can pair up the stress of the school run with the stress of one of the most frustrating games in the world, deserves a medal! Perhaps the peaceful calm of the sun-soaked fairways provides all the escapism required to battle through another day. Is your course set in the vicinity of a number of local schools? Perhaps consider group discounts while school is in session?