When the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016, few people knew what the end result would be. And over time, things haven’t become much clearer.
But what we do know is that it will likely change aspects of our lives – and golf is one of them. From where we choose to play, to international competitions, Brexit may change the face of golf as we know it.
Change in prize money
One of the changes that has already taken place is a switch in prize money. After the vote, the value of the UK pound dropped drastically. And while it has recovered to an extent, the uncertainty over its future has led international golfing competitions to make the move from pounds to dollars for prize money.
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers described it as a “significant issue”, especially for this year’s Open at Royal Birkdale, the only major championship staged outside of the US.
The winner took home $1,845,000 US dollars. This currently is equal to around £1.4m. Last year, the prize money was £1.75m.
A Ryder Cup divide?
The biennial grudge match between the US and Europe could soon take on a very different feel following the Brexit vote. No longer is Europe united. With many British players in the European Ryder Cup squad, Brexit could cause rifts.
Recent Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke, though, claims the politics behind the vote won’t affect the game or the team’s camaraderie.
He said: “It makes no difference to us whatsoever because the UK is always going to be part of the European continent. So we’re going there as Europe. We will still use the European flag because that is our continental flag, and that is what we’re going to do.”
Whether this vibe will stay the same after the UK has officially left remains to be seen.
Cheaper to play in the UK
One benefit of the drop in the value of the pound is that it means the UK has become much more affordable as a place to do business for other countries. And the same goes for foreign golfers – especially those in the US – wanting to play the country’s historic courses.
While there remains a lot of uncertainty, currently it’s a lot cheaper to visit and play in the UK than it was before the vote. Those who were putting off their golfing trips to the UK might use this as their chance to book.
And for those who had already booked up, it means they will be able to spend more money on the course and in the clubhouse, hopefully giving the domestic golfing industry a boost.
Playing abroad becomes more difficult
The downside of the drop in value of the pound is that it means our money won’t go as far in foreign countries. Anyone planning golfing trips to Europe will have to watch their wallets a bit more.
And when the UK finally leaves the EU it might make booking holidays to European countries that little bit harder, while professionals and semi-professionals going on tour or wanting to practice on European courses will be faced with much higher levels of paperwork and admin than ever before.