National rounds played for March 2021 were up an estimated 45% over the same period a year ago, when the coronavirus first started impacting golf operations throughout the U.S.
In 2020, as Covid-19 hit, a total of 15 states had statewide course shutdowns or widespread restrictions on play by the final week of March. Per NGF’s tracking, more than half of U.S. courses were temporarily closed in late March of 2020 due to the virus or seasonality, though the majority of those were due to governmental safety protocols.
Rounds finished down 8.5% in March of 2020.
This year, March rounds finished up at least 20% in all eight geographic regions in the monthly report from Golf Datatech, which incorporates facility-level data collected by NGF.
Several states rich in golf supply were among the biggest gainers in March 2021, including a +109% YOY jump in California. In 2020, California was the first state to impose a statewide stay-at-home order on March 19 and rounds were down 40% for the month.
Michigan (+179%), Ohio (147%), Illinois (114%) and Pennsylvania (110%) were among other states with the biggest rises in March play compared to a year ago, with more favorable weather playing a key role as well. There was 43% less precipitation in the East North Central region this March compared to a year ago, meaning fewer courses were affected by snow.
Through the first quarter of 2021, play is up 24.3% over last year.
April 2021 is poised for an even bigger YOY increase. April rounds were down 42% last year as more than half of the nation’s courses were shut down for most of the month.
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