Written on May 28th by Keith Preece, Head Pro Kington GC
Clearly, after the sheer amount of rainfall, we had during the winter months the last thing our industry needed was Covid-19 to hit us just when the season was about to get underway. I think every PGA professional and golf club were looking forward to resuming normal cashflow again but clearly, this hasn’t been able to happen and now as an industry, we have that period of the last to 6-8 months where most will be down. Equipment sales, lessons, range balls, green fees, catering and Memberships all taking a hit.
I don’t think there’s part of the industry that hasn’t been affected, the resort courses as well as everything I’ve listed will have lost income from the hotels as well and the manufacturers of golf equipment will feel the knock-on effect of our sales taking a hit. At Kington, a lot of business during the summer months comes from tour operators who send us groups of golfers who are staying at local hotels so most of this summers revenue from this stream will also be gone.
The one thing you learn through from being in this industry a long time is that PGA pros are a resilient bunch, we’ll all bounce back, re-align our businesses and work through this. Since the return of golf, both Kington and Burghill Valley have seen an upturn in new members joining and others returning to the game.
Golf will almost certainly in the long term be one of the sports that will come out of this crisis in better shape than others due to the fact that social distancing can easily be maintained and players may well value their club memberships more so than ever. The two-ball only rule for everyone may have also been a real eye-opener for how the speed of the game can be improved and managed, some clubs may choose to restrict early times to two and three balls during the morning hours, I’ve never seen players come off the course looking so happy after a round of golf.
Support from both England Golf and The PGA has been spot on, to be honest. I think there will have been frustration in how slow the Government were in releasing information to them and at times that information has been too vague but let’s be honest it’s never happened before and it’s been a monumental task with everyone’s safety coming before anything else. I think there was some concern a few years back that some clubs who were struggling financially would go down the route of not employing a PGA professional but if you look at all the successful clubs they all have a PGA Pro who is prominent to the business and the ones that haven’t seem to find any direction. In the coming months PGA Pro’s will play a vital role in helping clubs get back on their feet whilst also getting our own businesses back on track and we’ll all be working hard to achieve both.