December rounds were up more than 37% nationwide, according to Golf Datatech’s monthly report, capping a resurgent year for the U.S. market. Overall, play during 2020 was up 13.9% over 2019, putting the year-end total at around 500 million rounds.
Play at private clubs was up 19.9% year-over-year, while public facilities (including resorts that were more affected by travel limitations) saw a 12.4% rise in rounds.
From June through the end of the year, the surges in play yielded about 75 million incremental rounds compared to the same period in 2019. For the year — and factoring in the loss of 20 million spring rounds due to virus-related shutdowns and anxiety — the net gain is more than 60 million extra rounds over 2019, when 441 million rounds of golf were played at the nation’s more than 16,000 golf courses.
In a typical year, weather-related fluctuation usually accounts for a 2% to 3% difference in the total number of rounds played. The only other year in the past two decades that the U.S. saw an increase of more than 3% was in 2012, when play rose 5.7% in part because of an early-season heatwave that contributed to heavier offseason play in some parts of the country.
NGF members can download the 2020 Rounds Played Summary by clicking the image below.
The report provides a contextual overview of the 441 million rounds of golf played throughout the U.S. in 2019. It sources information from the National Rounds Played Coalition, including Golf Datatech and weathertrends, offers comparisons to recent years, the total volume of rounds played by various geographic regions, and identifies which areas were most affected by poor weather conditions.