April 2024 Industry Report

With several controversial rulings at the Players Championship, I wondered when the rules of golf were established. The first rules of golf were written in Scotland in 1744 (and there were just 13 of them). Over the years, the rules have adapted with the game and have become more detailed and precise by the USGA.

A True American Hero

My father, who would have turned 100 last week, was a true American hero. He fought in WWII and attended DePaul University on the GI Plan after his left elbow was blown off during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. After helping start TV Guide and Playboy (with Hugh Hefner)…he wanted to control his own destiny and started Country Club Golfer magazine in 1972. In 1980, he renamed it Executive Golfer, a brand that sounded more upscale to match our demographics. Now in our 52nd year as a family owned media company, we have printed 495 issues. Expect a copy of our spring 2024 issue in the coming weeks.

Weather Impacts

According to the National Golf Foundation, January play got off to a sluggish start on a national level, as colder temperatures than a year ago in northern parts of the country rich in golfers and golf courses led to a nearly 17% year-over-year rounds decline. There’s volatility when comparing yearly results for an “off-season” month like January, given that weather and seasonality can have such a significant impact on what is a low-volume month for play nationally.

Inflation Hits Golf

Need more proof inflation has impacted resort golf. Look at these “eye-popping” in-season golf guest fees…Shadow Creek in Nevada – $1,250, Pebble Beach in California – $625, Trump National Doral in Florida – $550, TPC Scottsdale in Arizona – $525.

The Bottom Line

The post-COVID golf boom continues with its positive effect on the bottom line. According to Golf Inc., the percentage of public courses reporting financial distress dropped from 25% in 2016 to 4% in 2022 (latest data available). For private clubs, that number dropped from 14% to 1% over the same time frame. Impressive to say the least.