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A Publication of the National Golf Foundation

Questions, Answers and Insights for Everyone Interested in the Business of Golf


What Golf Operators Said About the June ‘Surge’

The early returns for golf's post-crackdown are in, with rounds up more than 6% nationally in May. Here's a look at what course operators are seeing and experiencing in June from a participation and engagement standpoint.
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Golf Course Turns Park, (Ball)park Turns Course Amid Pandemic

Golf takes different forms during uncertain times. In Atlanta, a golf course becomes a public park once a week. In Missouri, a ballpark becomes a short course.
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New Course Opens in Coronavirus Era

The Sheep Ranch not only is among a limited number of new courses to open in the U.S. this year, but made its debut amid a pandemic that contributed to more than half of the nation’s courses being temporarily closed just two months ago.
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June 2020 National Rounds Played

Rounds of golf increased by 13.9% nationally in June, a continuation of the recent surge in participation. Through the first six months of 2020, play is now down 1.7% despite the loss of 20 million spring rounds.

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Can Summer Surge Offset 20 Million Lost Spring Rounds?

The uptick in May and June play has improved the industry’s long-term prospects of recovering from the approximately 20 million rounds lost in March and April.

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Latest News on Golf and the Coronavirus

A repository of coronavirus-related breaking golf news from states and communities around the country.

23 min read

D.C. Municipal Golf: New Lease, New Life?

In a significant boost for public golf in Washington D.C., the National Links Trust (NLT) has been selected to negotiate a long-term lease for the three municipal facilities in the nation’s capital with backing from architects Tom Doak, Gil Hanse and Beau Welling, developer Mike Keiser and Troon Golf.

3 min read

Golf Travel - What's the Impact?

While equipment sales and play have been staging a strong comeback, the same can't be said for golf travel. NGF consumer research is signaling that overall trip volume could be down 35% to 40% this year.

Consider this: TSA airport checkpoint data is showing the number of air travelers in the U.S. is off about 75% versus last year and recent norms, having stalled a bit in the past few weeks. And most airlines are now projecting limited Q3 recovery.

Long Drives: How Far Are Golfers Willing to Go?

Most golfers with chronic wanderlust tell us they’ll be driving to their golf destinations this year -- and not necessarily close to home. Two-out-of-three say they are willing to drive more than four hours each way for a golf getaway, and those with a trip still planned for this year tell us they’ll spend an average of six to seven hours in the car just getting to the first tee. That’s why U.S. golf resorts and destinations continue to aggressively target the drive-in market.

Changes in Travel Intent

The following map shows how intent to travel to various locations (by core golfers living east of the Mississippi) has changed since the beginning of the year. Trips out west by “Easterners” appear to be drastically fewer, while southeast golf destinations may suffer the least, owing to the very large number of golfers living within driving distance. Core golfers are defined as those who played 8-or-more rounds over the past 12 months.

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Golfers and Physical Distancing

Golf is a sport that by its nature is conducive to social distancing. Here’s how the physical distancing trend among golfers has changed over time.

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Studying Golf Consumers: July 2020

As the number of coronavirus cases have increased nationwide, core golfers have expressed a heightened…

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Golfers Scratch the Itch to Play

In a recent consumer survey, 86% of core golfers reported that they’ve teed it up in the past couple of weeks.

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Golf Courses

98% of U.S. Golf Courses Are Open

The NGF’s latest nationwide survey of U.S. golf facilities shows that 98% were open to play as of the week beginning June 1, just 1 1/2 months after half the courses in the country were closed. 

2 min read

Historical Tracking of Government Orders and Golf Course Status

At one point in mid-April, as many as 19 states had restrictions on golf, either at a statewide or local level. The following is an overview of how governmental executive orders affected golf operations nationwide.

2 min read

Short and Sweet: Par 3 Golf Courses

Del Ratcliffe fully appreciates the benefits of a Par 3 golf course. He grew up playing one his father built in 1960 on a farm about 10 to 15 miles outside of downtown Charlotte. Today, Ratcliffe owns or operates five facilities in the Charlotte area – four of which feature a Par 3 layout of some fashion.

4 min read

General Interest

Tracking the COVID-19 Effect on Rounds

Using Sagacity Golf data, we take a deeper, data-driven look at engagement in several key golf markets, comparing 2020 weekly rounds volume to the same period over the previous three years.

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Sizing Up Golf’s $2.9 Billion Club and Ball Market

The equipment industry is the most commercially visible sector in golf, with clubs and balls accounting for an almost $2.9 billion annual market that’s driven by golf being one of the nation’s leading participation sports.

4 min read

The Story Behind ‘The Photo’

Mike Ehrmann was also one of the select golf “fans” on site for the recent TaylorMade Driving Relief charity event at Seminole Golf Club. The Getty photographer was also responsible for perhaps the most iconic image of professional golf during the coronavirus era. Here’s how it happened.

4 min read

NGF News & Reports

NGF New Members – June 2020

The NGF extends a warm welcome to the newest members of its growing community, both facilities and businesses.

5 min read

2020 Golf Industry Report Available to Members

The Golf Industry Report is now available to NGF members, offering a high-level overview of the business of golf and the health of the game in 2019.

2 min read

2020 Rounds Played Report Is Available

The NGF’s 2020 Rounds Played Summary, which provides a contextual overview of the 441 million rounds of golf played throughout the U.S. in 2019, is now available and free to download for NGF members.

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