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UK Golf Courses Now Permitted to Accept Bitcoin

17 July 2019 08:36, UTC
Lewis Mitchell

The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A), which is the ruling authority of golf worldwide apart from North America, has implemented a new ruling that states all UK golf courses must legally accept payment in the original cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, or face potential fines. Bitcoin has rapidly emerged on the scene as a leading digital currency contender during the last three or four years, following a significant spike in its value, north of $10,000 per Bitcoin.

16-07-2019 16:43:29  |   Investments
However, in 2017 the value of Bitcoin tanked significantly by as much as 25% in a single day, leading some to question its legitimacy and whether or not it was a self-inflated ‘bubble’ currency that was waiting to burst. Fortunately for Bitcoin investors, the price of Bitcoin stabilised somewhat in 2018 and has tripled since the turn of 2019. This gave the R&A the confidence to follow through with its plans to introduce Bitcoin as an accepted form of payment for green fees, memberships, food and drink and equipment from on-course pro shops.

Increasing the accessibility of golf to the next generation of players


Younger players will be attracted to pay Bitcoin to play golf

The R&A is keen to increase the accessibility of golf to the millennial generation, citing the ‘big four’ demographics that are hugely under-represented at golf courses, notably speculators, libertarians and computer programmers. Linda HALL, deputy head of cryptocurrency at the R&A, warned golf courses nationwide that if they hadn’t “already set up a Bitcoin payment system” it was “time to do so” now.

Ms Hall said that it “couldn’t be more easy” to convert existing payment systems. Hall said that converting existing Java-based e-commerce systems to one that “integrates an API that can be used with a Bitcoin payment processing provider” was easily achievable. That system could then be linked to an app which “generates a QR code” to link “seamlessly” to a golf club’s unique blockchain.

The R&A is doing its bit to educate long-standing golf clubs about the benefits of redesigning their payment platforms to accept Bitcoin, which itself is set to become the future of payments for goods and services. The R&A’s campaign #TeeingUpTheCrypto has been well-received across social media, with many golf clubs choosing to take the lead. The ruling itself was implemented just before last year’s Open Championship, which was won by Italian Francesco Molinari. The Italian is again in the leading pack of ten contenders to win the 2019 Open Championship and secure back-to-back titles at Royal Portrush Golf Club for the 148th Championship.

Some golf clubs have embraced Bitcoin exclusively

The adoption of Bitcoin as a legitimate payment method has been so well received at some UK golf courses that they have taken the decision to abandon sterling transactions altogether. West Mellington Golf Club in Lanarkshire, Scotland, is one such course to have put their faith in cryptocurrencies. The club’s PGA professional and digital encryption secretary, David HALL, said that since they began accepting Bitcoin the club “found a number of software developers joined the club”, using Bitcoin to pay for their membership fees.

Mr Hall even revealed that West Mellington Golf Club now operates a “server farm” in and around its 16th hole, with as many as 14,000 computers built to mine for additional cryptocurrency to keep more in reserve for the club. Nevertheless, Rose Main, senior lecturer at Sussex University, said that golf courses adopting cryptocurrency exclusively could have devastating consequences on their older membership. Main said that “octogenarian members” who had been “paying for [their] rounds in sterling” for decades would have very little concept of how to go about buying, storing and paying with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

25-04-2019 14:26:12  |   Guest posts
Bitcoin is increasingly being used to pay for goods and services in a host of entertainment and leisure industries. In the iGaming sector, there are a growing number of Bitcoin casinos where players exclusively play for Bitcoin and withdraw or deposit it to and from their Bitcoin wallets. Meanwhile, there are retail outlets that accept payment in Bitcoin for everything from Subway sandwiches to cups of coffee.

Photo by WorldSpectrum/Public Domain