North West based coach concerned for golf club survival following pandemic

Andy Swallow helping a student with his swing. Credit: Andy Swallow Golf

An academy coach fears smaller clubs could face liquidation as coronavirus halts all sport in the United Kingdom.

Andy Swallow has been a professional coach since 2013 and for the last six years, he’s been plying his trade at Lytham Golf Academy but like many other businesses, they’ve had to temporarily close their doors due to COVID-19.

Luckily for Swallow, the Academy will be back up and running in the near future, but for some golf courses across the North West, they unfortunately won’t have the same fate.

Swallow said: “I think it will have an effect on less established clubs, the lesser clubs could struggle definitely.”

Living in Blackpool, the 33-year-old has three golf courses very close to home but there’s one in particular which Swallow feels the lockdown will affect massively after having no income for weeks.

He added: “Stanley Park is a municipal course and they’re not getting the revenue that they should be getting this time of the year.

“The past three weeks we’ve had, this is where they’d make their money.”

On average, Swallow coaches 60 to 70 students a week at the Golf Academy, helping them with every aspect of their golfing game from custom fittings to their short game.

Andy Swallow teaching one of his classes. Credit: Andy Swallow Golf

Despite not being able to teach for several weeks, the former Lancashire Boys Under 14’s coach has been making sure they don’t forget about golf.

He said: “I’ve been doing stuff with the Golf Foundation to get them playing whilst at home.

“I’ve given them lockdown challenges to make them not forget about golf because at 13-years-old, you just have to make sure they’re having fun with it.”

With the sport making a return in countries such as Germany and Denmark, Swallow has always been an advocate of golf being the safest sport to play if social distancing measures are respected.

He added: “Golf is something that can easily be managed.

“It’s very easy to walk three or four metres apart and have a conversation and instead of four balls you might have two or three balls and then you space the times out more to make social distancing easy.”

When golf eventually makes a comeback, Swallow aims to start his Titleist Performance Institute training and has urged golf clubs to use their initiative and turn a negative into a positive.

Swallow said: “If golf are clever about it they could definitely increase memberships.

“They could put flexible memberships in place where if you made it £50 a month, I think it’s something people might take to.”