Golf has bounced back tremendously in popularity from its supposed decline in the early 2010s.

As more people turn to golf as a safe and fun boost for physical and mental health, many clubs have welcomed new members and players. Interest in the game is certainly trending in the right direction.

However, what golf industry trends can we expect to see as we enter the 2022 season? What will continue from the last couple of years navigating through the global pandemic, and how should golf course management pivot to address new challenges

Below, we’ve listed 6 possible golf course management trends to watch out for in 2022.

1. The contactless experience & enhanced cleanliness procedures are here to stay

In general, customers expect retailers and businesses to continue to provide enhanced cleaning and safety measures into 2022. Even beyond the pandemic, there will be an increased emphasis on sanitizing high-touch areas and continuing to offer contactless technology. Golf has a distinct advantage, and has since the beginning, by being an outdoor activity. This has attracted interest from people who hadn’t tried golfing before. By not knowing the golf industry as well as a regular golfer, however, this version of the game is all they know, and may continue to expect if they retain the hobby. 

Safety protocols like cart dividers, pin caddies, sanitizer stations, distancing markers, outdoor check-ins, contactless payment, digital score cards, and even ease of access to alcohol on the course are golf industry trends that are likely to stick around for a few years to come. 

2. Staffing struggles and shortages could continue

Many industries saw difficulty in 2021 with staffing shortages. With the latest virus variant being so easy to spread, more people had called in sick more often, or had been unable to work due to exposure. Staffing looked different this year already, as a stripped-down workforce was considered safer and cost-effective. Golf courses may not have needed restaurant staff as indoor dining was closed at different parts of the year. 

Courses may need to prepare for another year of these patterns. While 2022 will likely play out a bit differently, as vaccine immunity is now a huge factor, clubs would do well to plan to operate with a smaller staff. Additionally, they may consider raising wages to retain workers who may be shopping around elsewhere for a better job (see The Great Resignation).

3. Pro Shop merchandise sales may be in decline

Did you have less staff working in your Pro Shop last year? Some clubs saw less Pro Shop browsing happening in 2021, as people were generally discouraged from coming indoors. This may lead to a trend of less retail sales, and therefore clubs may choose to carry less merchandise. To move existing inventory, consider social media posts or your email newsletter to advertise discounts. Clubs may need to find other ways to make extra cash — perhaps focusing more effort on club fittings will be the way to go in 2022.

4. Changes to traditional golf club membership are coming

The last couple of years have seen an incredible shift in the way we work. Working from home (WFH) has become extremely viable for many people, which in turn affects how much extra money and time they save. With more time for hobbies, and opportunity to work from different spaces, it’s no wonder there has been an uptick of interest in golf.

Private clubs in particular would do well to rethink their membership demographics in light of the above. Have you considered catering to younger golfers, or women, who may be considering purchasing memberships? About a third of all golfers are millennials now! Perhaps rethinking your membership fees as well to be more attractive to different demographics would also be on the docket as you prepare for the 2022 season. 

5. Even more value will be placed on technology & golf course software 

Technology has become a key tool to differentiate your club from the competition. Prioritizing contactlessness and convenience is not only expected, but will impress your customers and keep them coming back to play. This is one of the golf industry trends you simply can’t ignore.

Some courses have implemented impressive on-cart technology systems that use GPS to offer a more in-depth experience to their golfers. It helps them calculate the distance to the holes, pushes Halfway House preorders before the turn, displays advertising from local companies, and lets players know about events and course news. 

In addition, it has become more important than ever to be able to rely on your tee sheet software. Can it keep up with this increase in demand? Can you really rely on it? Perhaps it’s time to consider a different golf course software management system that better addresses your course needs. 

Other ways to stand out with technology might include offering a golf course mobile app, for members to manage their tee times, or having a strong golf course website that serves as a hub for all your club information. GGGolf can help with both of these — ask us how!

golf course mobile app

6. Experience continues to be king

A trend that is likely to never change is the player experience. Golfers choose your course primarily on the experience they receive — the playability of your holes, your maintenance crew’s meticulous turf care, the dedication of your staff, the quality of your food, the bang for their buck on your green fees

Look for ways your club stands out from the competition, what you’re really good at, and double down. You could even consider surveying your members and ask for their feedback on what could make their experience even better. You’ll learn more about your operations, and they’ll feel great knowing their voice is heard. Win win! 

Member relations are always at the forefront of a great golf course experience! What can you do to really shine? 

It’s hard to know exactly what the future has in store for our favourite game. These projected golf industry trends may or may not come to fruition — only time will tell! What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with this list? Let us know in the comments! 

6 Golf Industry Trends for 2022 - GGGolf blog