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A Publication of the National Golf Foundation

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

How Has Working From Home Affected Golf?

by Joe Beditz

April 2021

There’s no question working remotely has provided schedule flexibility to many people over the past year, eliminating commute times, providing employees greater control over when, where and how they work, and keeping fewer tethered to the traditional 9-to-5.

Talk to golf course operators about 2020 and you’ll hear stories about weekday play, especially (underutilized) late afternoons, helping drive increases in “pandemic” rounds. Recently, we surveyed core golfers themselves to understand more about impacts and expectations around work-from-home (WFH).

Focusing solely on non-retired core golfers, 70% indicate they’ve worked remotely at least some of the time over the past year, and the majority found it was easier to get out and play golf. In fact, half said they were playing more golf than usual, especially in the late afternoons and early evenings. They also reported more nine-hole rounds. These observations dovetail nicely with our research that revealed the surges in play last year (+14% year-over-year) were driven in large part by core golfers who, given this unique opportunity, played even more.

For many companies, work-from-home is here to stay. Recent studies of management trends as well as office occupancy rates indicate that ‘hybrid models’ – no, not those kinds of hybrids – will become more and more prevalent as companies seize the opportunity to reduce occupancy costs, and at the same time accommodate the vast majority of WFH workers who now prefer to retain at least some of their schedule flexibility and not give back all of their hours spent commuting.

And those golfers who played so much more in 2020 … many they tell us they intend to keep it up this year, thanks in large part to greater work flexibility. Let’s hope they do.

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Joe Beditz

Joe is in his 35th year with the NGF and has served as President and Chief Executive since 1989. One of the industry's leading experts on the business of golf, Joe has published a myriad of studies and reports about the state of the game and, as a speaker, is frequently asked to provide insight and information on consumer and economic trends affecting golf's present and future.