Editor: Adam Lawrence
Publication manager: Benedict Pask
I write this editor’s letter, in a rather sombre mood, on the morning that we have learned that the UK has voted to leave the European Union. Not, one might at first think, an obvious subject for a golf magazine, but as an Englishman and a UK resident, it is clear to me that our entire economy, of which golf is an important part, will be affected by the vote, so we in the golf industry need to start thinking about how to respond.
It seems inevitable that the shock of the vote and then the realities of the exit will produce a downturn in the domestic economy. As golf is a luxury good, that must be bad news for the industry. But there are upsides too; the inevitable weakening of sterling will make UK golf better value for visitors from overseas whether bearing dollars, euros or RMB. And perhaps the threat of worse times to come will compel the British industry to become more focused on sustainability and find ways to reduce costs still further.
As golf is at heart a Scottish game, the fate of Scotland in all this seems especially significant. It seems highly likely that Scotland – which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU – will see a second referendum on independence, and one that is this time likely to pass. But, of course, for the moment Scotland remains part of the UK, and the cheap pound applies there too. It occurred to me that this might be the best of all worlds for US-funded golf development such as the proposed Mike Keiser project at Coul Links outside Dornoch; for the next couple of years, while the investment in the project is being made, it will be cheap, because dollars will go further, but then, at about the time it might open, Scotland might become independent, and remain part of the EU. Maybe every cloud does have a silver lining after all.