Home working fuels midweek golf boom

Growing Golf
Golfer hits at Kiawah Island, SC, USA

Working from home (WFH) has transformed the way people play golf, according to research that reveals a midweek golf boom in the UK and USA.

Remote working was a necessity during pandemic lockdowns but is now the norm in knowledge-based industries. This cultural shift has brought unexpected benefits for golf clubs and courses.

A survey by The Revenue Club highlighted a surge in demand for midweek golf in the UK and Ireland with afternoon rounds seeing the biggest rise.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Rob Corcoran, Director at The Revenue Club, said: “A higher proportion of golf is being played in the afternoons as flexible workers are clocking off early and heading to the course.”

Pre-pandemic, rounds played from midday onwards accounted for around half of all tee-times. In 2023, this rose to 60 per cent. 

Data also showed an increase in the number of weekday golf course visits, up to 59 per cent of total rounds played compared to 56 per cent in 2019.

“There has also been a big shift in the demographic of people playing golf. From older players before the pandemic to a growing number of younger people. We saw this big growth in the 25 to 34, and 35 to 45 age brackets,” added Corcoran.

Nick Bloom, a professor of economics at Stanford University, California, has been researching remote and hybrid working practices since 2015. 

Bloom says working from home is here to stay. He told the Institute of Fiscal Studies that many workers value WFH two to three times a week ahead of an eight per cent pay rise.

A recent Stanford University study also found that home working was powering a midweek golf boom in America, the world’s largest golf market.

Researchers used AI (artificial intelligence) analysis of satellite images to interrogate anonymous GPS data for mobile phones and vehicle journeys to more than 3,400 golf courses nationwide.

The findings revealed that midweek ‘golf-course trips’ had increased post-pandemic, up 52 per cent in August 2022 compared to August of 2019.

The study reported a 143 per cent increase in rounds played on Wednesdays and a 278 per cent increase in Wednesday rounds played at 4pm.

Bloom believes that this trend applies to other leisure industries and not just golf, citing greater opportunity for home workers to visit the gym, hair salon and shops during the working week.

“The leisure economy has really swivelled from being packed on the weekend to being packed throughout the week,” said Bloom.