February 2021 Industry Report

Golf equipment sales continued to surge in the fourth quarter of last year.

Where consumers purchased product was telling. Overall equipment sales at green grass pro shops were up 1%, while off course sales grew 16%.

According to Golf Datatech: Green grass pro shop sales were more heavily impacted by mandated closures (even as more played golf) and off course retail stores benefited from significant expansion in online sales.

How does your facility stack up?

The typical 18-hole private club in America budgeted approximately $1,065,000 for golf course maintenance.

The typical 18-hole daily fee course – with guest fees of at least $100 – budgeted $1,303,000 for golf course maintenance.

While every region and facility is different, this discrepancy should make you evaluate your local competition. Do you have a high-end daily fee facility – with superior playing conditions – siphoning your business?

Voluntary or mandatory

As the COVID vaccine starts a rollout to the general population in the coming weeks, many companies are grappling with employee mandates requiring the vaccine.

It’s a slippery slope. On one hand, reporting to members/guests that the front line staff has been vaccinated provides a “high bar” of comfort. However, it does open the door to possible future litigation if the vaccine shows side effects years down the line.

I live in Orange County, California, and our local fire department established a creative program.

Each month, they enter all firefighters who have received the vaccine into a raffle offering a $500 Amazon gift card, thus creating a powerful incentive to receive the vaccine. It is optional.

Having a raffle each month, versus a cash bonus, accomplishes a couple of goals.

First, not all staff will get the vaccine at the same time.

Second, it eliminates the possibility of an employee getting the vaccine, taking a cash bonus, then quitting their job shortly afterward.

The fire department decided on a $500 price point, figuring it was a large enough incentive to motivate employees. They felt a smaller amount would fall on deaf ears.

An interesting perspective

An interesting perspective to consider: Yale professor and social epidemiologist, Dr. Nicholas Christakis, has a prediction starting late this year. He predicts that once the pandemic ends, people will seek radical social interaction – second only to the “Roaring 20s” after the 1918 Spanish Flu.

His view: “During epidemics, people become more religious, more abstentious, save money, and become risk adverse. Once the contagion abates, we will see packed stadiums, flourishing arts, sexual licentiousness, and liberal spending.”