Rounds of golf for September 2018 were down 7.2% compared to a year ago due to heavier-than-normal precipitation levels in many regions of the United States. It’s been the continuation of a trend that’s had an impact for much of the year, and the national year-to-date rounds-played total is -3.3% through September.
Six of the eight geographic regions experienced significant increases in precipitation for September and rounds-played were down in all of them. September typically accounts for about 10% of annual rounds, making it one of the higher volume months of the year.
The Mid-Atlantic (New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) and South Central (Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky) saw the biggest declines in September play and both had a 190% increase in rain. Rounds in the Mid-Atlantic were down 16.5% for the month, compared to a year ago, while the South Central experienced a 15.5% dip on the tee sheet.
There was even more precipitation in the East North Central region — an increase of 239% from last September — and rounds-played dropped by 10.4% in golf-rich states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Other declines included -11.8% in the West North Central, -5.9% in the South Atlantic and -0.8% in New England.
In the only two U.S. regions with less precipitation than a year ago, play was up. The Mountain region (Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana) saw an 11.4% increase in rounds-played and the Pacific (California, Oregon and Washington) was up 2.9%.
Mother Nature is usually the predominant influence on the number of rounds played in the golf industry, causing an average weather-related fluctuation of 2% to 3% each year. So far this year, the weather has presented even more of a challenge for operators.