It’s good to be back – and we have a lot to catch up on since our last print edition in late 2020.
Since our last full magazine, we’ve had two lockdowns, got to grips with a new handicap system, and come through one of the most challenging periods of early season weather in living memory. Despite these challenges, we have a lot more to cover than we have space for in these pages, but more on that later.
The golfing boom of 2020 shows little sign of slowing down any time soon, which is great news for our region’s clubs and retailers. The R&A has reported golf participation among adults rose by 2.3 million in 2020, while the average age of golfers fell by five years (to 41) and more women are playing the sport in its many forms. The total adult golfers on a full-length course (9 or 18 hole) increased by 2.1 million players to 5.2 million – the highest figure recorded this century; 25% of female golfers surveyed were new to the sport; and driving range use increased from 2.3 million to 4.3 million players.
Putting figures on the anecdotal evidence gathered in 2020 shows the scale of the opportunity in front of us. The focus in 2021, from the game’s governing bodies down through counties and clubs, is maintaining this momentum. Many clubs are now in strong positions and are looking to enhance the membership experience; maximise the opportunities that remain open to them on and off the golf course; and present a product which caters for long-time golfers, those new to membership and those who are new to the sport. It’s shaping up to be another incredibly busy year of golf, and we’re very much looking forward to it.
After the winter lockdowns, the golf season picked up incredibly quickly. Hexham’s Matty Lamb stars on this edition’s cover following his performance for GB&I in The Walker Cup, while Maggie Whitehead came within three holes of winning a professional event at the age of 14. There’s also news from the first county and professional events of the season, updates from clubs across the region, a trip to Dunstanburgh Castle, three fantastic competition prizes, and so much more.
If you’d like to keep up-to-date with even more golfing news from across the region, sign up to our new Northern Golfer Weekly email, which is delivered to inboxes every Friday morning. Visit linktr.ee/negolfer to read the latest email and sign up. Enjoy this edition, we’ll be back in August.