National rounds-played were up 2.8% in January 2019 compared to the same period a year ago. It’s a positive start to the year after 11 of 12 months in 2018 were marked by year-over-year declines in play largely due to an increased incidence in unfavorable weather.
January rounds were up throughout much of the Eastern half of the country, with the New England and Mid Atlantic regions seeing the biggest gains on a percentage basis. The Massachusetts and Rhode Island market saw a 142% jump in rounds from a year ago, while the golfer-rich New York market was up more than 85%. During what’s typically the offseason for golf, however, this could be a reflection of having two playable days over one in certain areas.
The overall increase was driven more by the South Atlantic, where year-over-year play was up 12.8% in golf-rich states such as Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.
Five of the eight regions saw a year-over-year increase in rounds-played to start 2019, with the Mountain and Pacific regions showing nominal declines after strong starts to 2018.
January accounts for only about 3% of annual rounds and, like other winter months, its impact on total annual rounds is relatively insignificant overall. While the rounds-played numbers for the spring and summer months will set the tone for the rest of the year, it’s still encouraging to get off to a positive start.