September 2021 Industry Report

The most frequently asked question in golf during January was whether the elevated level of golf activity seen last year would maintain in 2021.

Golf Datatech/National Golf Foundation released its latest report showing rounds played up 0.4% nationally for June 2021 over June 2020. This is important for two reasons: (1) Even with normal weather-induced variances (the weather last year was better than average) rounds continued to show growth. (2) June is a very important month to the sport with 3 times the number of rounds played compared to cooler winter months.

Another interesting data point: year-to-date rounds at public courses are up 26%, versus 13% at private clubs. These elevated numbers reflect that earlier last year, many golf courses were shuttered for weeks/months because of the pandemic.

Value Equation

An estimated 92% of golf clubs have raised the cost of guest fees in the past year as a direct result of surging demand. According to the National Golf Foundation, the median cost for a round of golf (including all types of facilities) is $61. That means 50% of clubs charge more and 50% charge less. How does golf stack up in the value equation? The median cost of a movie ticket is $9.16.

Demand/Supply Math

For the past 15 years, total supply of golf courses in America has been contracting – to the tune of 1,600+ golf facilities. With the boom in rounds played during the pandemic, the National Golf Foundation is predicting the supply of U.S. courses will continue contracting 0.7% this year. While this is a much slower rate of attrition, the balance of supply/demand continues.

Stock Market Matters

The growth/interest in golf can partially be traced to the rise in the stock market. Did you know the S&P has doubled in value since its trough during the peak of the pandemic (only 354 days). On average, history shows it takes markets more than 1,000 trading days to reach that milestone.