The question for April 2021 wasn’t whether the number of rounds of golf would be up nationwide, it was “how much” they would be up. The results are in and the jump was indeed significant, with year-over-year rounds up more than 81% nationwide in April. That pushes the year-to-date total to +44% across the U.S. compared to 2020, according to the latest monthly report by Golf Datatech, produced in cooperation with the National Golf Foundation.
For the better part of April 2020, more than half of the nation’s courses were temporarily closed due to the coronavirus and play plunged 42% from the year before.
While April’s rounds this year are obviously up dramatically YOY, they fall more in line with the historical average (pre-pandemic) as seen in the below graphic. However, total YTD rounds for the first four months of 2021 are up about 20% when compared to the same period from 2017-2019.
It’s very likely the golf industry will see a rise in May 2021 rounds as well. While golf courses had opened in all 50 U.S. states by mid-May of 2020, operational limitations were still in place in some areas, with protocols that included wider tee time intervals, walking-only provisions, one-rider carts, reduced guest rounds, and groups limited to twosomes instead of foursomes.
“We weren’t back to full capacity until the beginning of June,” NGF CEO and President Joe Beditz said. “So, barring unusually bad golf weather, we expect to see another ‘up month’ in May. From that point, it will become more evident as to how many of those golfers and rounds we hold onto through the summer months.”
From June through August of 2020, more than 27 million additional rounds of golf were played in the U.S. than during the same three-month stretch in 2019. In the months ahead, what will be telling is whether the blue line in the graphic above tracks more toward the top line (the 2020 surge line), the more historical average, or somewhere in between.
For more detailed regional reporting, click here for a copy of the industry’s monthly rounds report.
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