Since operational restrictions were lifted on golf courses in late spring, play has been up nationwide. And it makes sense, as golf has offered a safe, healthy, outdoor pursuit while many other activities were limited.
Over the four-month stretch from June to September, an estimated 39 million more rounds were played at U.S. golf courses than the same period in 2019, a significant boost for the industry after more than half of the nation’s 16,000 courses were shut down in April due to the pandemic and retail supply chains were significantly disrupted. With many existing golfers clearly playing more frequently, it got us wondering about their interest in the game.
In a recent consumer survey, Core golfers (8+ rounds annually) were asked how “into” golf have they been in 2020 compared to their usual engagement level. While the industry always has to be focused on acquiring more customers, it’s getting existing customers to play more that’s really driving surges in the number of rounds.
When given a list of ways to quantify how “into” golf they’ve been in 2020 that included purchases, media consumption, travel and instruction, it was playing more rounds and/or courses, practicing more often, and improved play or scoring that were cited most frequently. More than half of respondents who said they’re “more into” golf this year picked those three options.
While male respondents outnumber females in the survey of Core golfers, 72% of the women who responded said they’re more into golf this year.
When it came to the question of practicing more, 72% of respondents in the 18-34 age group cited that as a key factor in their increased interest. This figure declines fairly significantly by age, with only 30% of Core golfers aged 65-or-over saying that their interest level rose in part due to added practice, perhaps an indication they prefer spending their free time on the course rather than the range.
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