Coeur d'Alene Resort Image Library 2012
October 2017 Industry Report

Macro events and marketing

The impacts of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have wide ranging ramifications for our industry that extend far beyond immediate areas suffering damage. Everything from insurance premiums, building codes, future entitlements, and buyer psychology will be reexamined.


Rounds played during the busy fall season across a wide swath of key markets are down significantly. One prominent private club in Palm Beach, Florida had budgeted 1,000 rounds for the month of September. Their total was 200 or 80% below projections.


It’s important to consider, even if you are far removed from hurricane hot spots, how you craft marketing messages over the next six months. It’s critical to show empathy. One of the more effective marketing slogans I have heard from a tourism board was – “Our Doors and Hearts are Open.”


Executive Golfer’s vetted social media platform continues to grow strongly. We now have over 25,000 private club members and industry professionals following us. During the three-week period of hurricane chaos, our views/reactions were down 67%. My guess is no matter the message, consumers had blinders on. This is a lesson learned that during the next macro news event, it may be best to postpone marketing campaigns.


My random checks of private clubs and resorts in Florida report all are open, though some remained bruised and bloodied. If you are waiting for a wintertime “deal,” you might be in for a shock. With so many Caribbean and Bahamas resorts closed for a prolonged period, Mexico and Florida properties stand to gain. For better or for worse, American consumers have short attention spans. As the weather turns colder, Florida will look as appealing as ever.


In trying to end this section of my report on a positive note, I came across a quote from author Jamais Cascio: “Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive.”


A look to Europe for the health of golf

It’s unlikely statistics on rounds played/revenue generated by golf properties in the U.S. will provide an accurate snapshot of our industry’s health for several quarters.


So, I thought I would report on statistics of golf in Europe.


According to a KPMG survey, 81% of Europe’s golf associations reported flat or increased rounds played. The number of registered golfers showed a slight increase of 1.2% and the supply of golf courses declined by 28, with 24 openings and 52 closures. The proportion of European’s who actively play golf remained unchanged at 0.9%.


I think the U.S. economy is stronger than Europe’s. So, my guess is our true statistics will prove to be more robust.


Topics likely to impact 2018

– How will the endorsement contract between Tiger Woods and TaylorMade bear fruit?

– How will the PGA Tour react if a player joins the NFL debate on the national anthem?

– Will Costco reintroduce Kirtland golf balls in store?

– How will the booming stock market help golf?

– What programs will the partnership between the PGA of America and Topgolf produce?

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