It’s not all bad news for clubs, for despite declining membership and some calling it a day, it seems collectively there were more rounds played in 2014

Finally… some good news for the UK’s many beleaguered golf clubs, beset by declining membership, a growing move towards nomadic golf and some of the most torrid winter weather in recent memory.

Renowned survey and market research specialists SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC. has just announced that there were more rounds played throughout 2014 on public access courses throughout mainland Great Britain relative to the previous two years, leading to the conclusion that the weather has probably been the primary cause of reduced figures over the previous two winters, rather than any lack of desire on the part of the UK’s normally resilient golfers to get out there and play.

Weather over the last two winters in many areas of the country had either been severe enough to close many courses for weeks on end, or to discourage all but the most hardy of souls from venturing out even when open. From a personal perspective, I can recall more games being cancelled because of course closure than at any time in my golfing life.

Thankfully until the last couple of weeks, the winter weather this year had been infinitely kinder in terms of temperatures, rainfall and snow compared to 2012 and 2013, with the figures for quarter four – October to December – up 4.5% on 2013, a significant contributing factor to an overall increase of 3.5% in rounds played from 2013 to 2014, and 1.4% from 2012 to 2014.

Late summer and autumn had also brought good news with a 5.3% increase in rounds played from 2013 to 2014 in quarter three.

The news is a welcome shot in the arm for many golf clubs who would have been dreading a hard-to-bear repeat of the last two years, and with the weather for first half of January at least remaining reasonable in many areas, perhaps clubs the length and breadth of the country will go into 2015 with a renewed hope that has been absent for a number of years. Let’s all hope February and March remain kind to golf.