An Independent Golfer, also referred to as a Nomadic golfer or Social golfer, is someone who has no affiliation to any one golf club.
These golfers particularly known for enjoying their golf using the ‘Pay and Play’ method, rather than playing the same golf course repeatedly at a golf club of which they are a member.
Nomadic golfers, rather than join a traditional golf club and paying an annual membership fee, prefer to test their skills and talents on a multitude of golf courses throughout the year.
In recent years (since the advent of the world wide web) golfers now have many options outside of their local club where they can enjoy their golf.
As communications and connectivity have increased exponentially over the last two decades, more and more golfers have left the traditional style golf clubs and are now playing their golf independently.
In addition, with the rise of the ‘Online Golf Handicap’, we believe this group, who are already a larger pool of players than traditional golf club members, will only get bigger over the next 10 years.
In numbers terms, the Independent Golfer already far outweighs that of the traditional club golfer by two to one – a rough guide to this is as follows:
Conclusion: Golf’s governing bodies need to start paying attention to these ‘Nomadic’ or ‘Independent’ Golfers, or the game will continue to see a decline in interest and worse, in participation.
Furthermore, despite the 2020 global pandemic giving lapsed players the chance to play the game again. Which in turn saw a huge rise in the number of golf rounds played in 2020 and an unexpected uplift in traditional golf club membership (when many were furlouhged), but it is clear the Independent golfer is here to stay.
By Ian Mullins