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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Golf Isn't Dead!

Photo by Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America
The death of golf, it seems, may not have occurred, at least according to preliminary results for 2014 from a leading industry data collection and benchmarking service.  At last week's PGA Merchandise Show, the PGA or America and NGCOA (National Golf Course Operators Association) announced that 29 states showed growth last year.

PGA PerformanceTrak reported that according to preliminary year-end results, golf rounds played per days open in 2014 were up nearly 1% when compared with 2013 data.  PGA PerformanceTrak is the largest single source of rounds played data in the golf industry, with more than 2,600 facilities contributing to the report on a monthly basis.

According to PerformanceTrak, overall rounds played in the U.S. were down 1.4% in 2014 when compared with 2013 data, while 2014 also marked the fewest days open in the past 9 years. However, a new metric, rounds played per days open reinforces that, when weather conditions are acceptable, consumers are making the choice to play golf. In fact, 29 states and 36 of 70 major metro markets experienced growth in rounds played per days open in 2014.
PGA PerformanceTrak data also accounts for weather’s impact on other key performance indicators such as Golf Fee Revenue and Golf Merchandise Revenue. Golf Fee Revenue per days open realized an increase of 1.5% while Golf Merchandise Revenue per days open realized an increase of 2.6% when compared with 2013 data.

“While we are not in the business of predicting weather patterns, we felt it was necessary to establish a new metric to better reflect the true impact weather conditions have on days open, rounds played and ultimately facility revenue in the majority of markets,” said Derek Sprague, President, PGA of America. “When weather conditions are acceptable, consumers are playing golf and spending money on golf fees and merchandise at the facilities at a pace that is higher than 2013, which is certainly a positive trend for the golf industry.”

Other key findings:
• Food and Beverage revenue increased by 4.1% in 2014 when compared with 2013 data
• Total facility revenue increased by 1.4% when compared with 2013 data
• The average fee for an 18-hole round of golf was $25.35 in 2014, in 2013 it was $25.19

Through data maintained by the National Climate Data Center, a division of NOAA, 20 states had 2014 precipitation levels that were above normal, with the majority of impact occurring in the Northwest, Midwest and Northeast regions of the country.  In fact, both Michigan and Wisconsin recorded their 114th wettest years in NOAA’s 120 year history of tracking this data. To compound matters, much of the High Plains, Midwest/Ohio Valley, Middle Atlantic, Southeast and Southern regions of the country registered below average to much below average temperatures for the year, while the Northwest and Southwest regions had above average to record temperatures with California, Nevada and Arizona setting 120 year records for the warmest average temperatures.

When the weather's good, so is the business of golf.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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