What is an Independent Golfer or Golfing Nomad?

What is an Independent Golfer?

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.

The Independent Golfer in 2021…

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:

  • UK Adult population = 49m
  • Number of Golfers in UK = 3.9m
  • Number of golfers who are a member of a golf club = 1.3m
  • Number of golfers who are NOT members of golf clubs = 2.6m

Five top things that single someone out as an Independent Golfer…

  1. Don’t belong to any one club.
  2. Love playing different golf courses.
  3. Often more social and outgoing.
  4. Like to travel abroad and enjoy some of the finer courses.
  5. Belong to one or more golf societies.

Five websites liked by Independent Golfers...

  1. The Social Golfer – Online Golf Club & Golf Society that enables you to meet and play golf with like-minded people, track your handicap and get a handicap certificate and join local golf events
  2. Golf NowOnline Tee Time Booking System where you can pick a course with last-minute tee time offers in the UK and all around the world
  3. Golf Deals Group – Discounted tee times at over 600+ UK golf courses. They also have a 2for1 Golf voucher website.
  4. Golf Escapes – This is a golf travel specialist run by golf enthusiasts and players. They offer golf and accommodation and feature hundreds of great deals on golf holidays around the world.
  5. Golf Societies – This website is a guide to the best golf society deals in the UK. They also produce a much-read guide to society golf deals every January.

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