Golf has been booming in popularity around the world over the past 9 months. In the US, the total golf participation was up by 8% according to the National Golf Foundation. Rounds of golf played in 2020 increased by 14%, despite of losing 20 million rounds in March and April due to course shutdowns. Both summer and fall were unprecedented in terms of play, golfer introductions, reintroductions, and spending. From June through December, approximately 75 million incremental rounds were played compared to the same period in 2019. In some states like Illinois, golf rounds were up by whopping 53.3% in October, as per Datatech´s monthly report. Even golf courses at resorts that were affected by travel limitations saw a 12.4% rise in rounds.
It was the biggest rise in interest in golf since Tiger Woods became a global sensation in 1997.
There were many new faces, player diversity has evolved. National Golf Foundation, who has provided excellent reports and updates during this pandemic, shared that 630,000-youth aged 6-17 – for a total of 3.1 million junior golfers – began playing golf in the US in 2020. About 35% of those in the junior and beginner ranks were female. More than 400,000 women took up or returned to golf in 2020, which is underscoring the females’ rising interest in golf. PGA TOUR Superstore, America´s #1 Golf Retailer, saw an 84% increase in sales of women’s club sets and women’s apparel, youth club sets saw healthy increases in 2020 as well.
This is awesome news and undoubtedly a result of the numerous initiatives and campaigns to drive Junior and Women´s golf in the US. Today, approximately 23% in the game’s overall participant base are female, with over 6 million females playing golf. And yet, there is still more potential to grow this lucrative segment when considering that in countries such as Austria or Germany the female penetration rate is about 35%. No doubt that this segment will continue to thrive in the US.
Are you capitalizing on this record-setting surge in golf?
Smart business leaders will take advantage of this chart bursting and exciting development in golf – anywhere around the world. Entrepreneurs in the golf industry will need to innovate and adapt to the diverse opportunity before them. This, however, is also a huge chance for the hospitality industry to pivot and redevelop their marketing strategy. Smartly launching a golf niche or scaling your existing golf segment will be a fantastic tactics to bounce back quickly to a solid GOPPAR. Golf is flourishing, the market is rapidly growing, and golf travel has proven to be the most resilient vertical in previous crisis. In addition, golfers do not only spend 2.5 x more than leisure travelers on their holiday, but they also consume considerably more in F&B and other ancillary outlets.
There is latent demand for golf travel right now and timing is perfect to capitalize on this lucrative niche! On top of everything else, the golf tourism market is poised to grow by $ 5.36 bn during 2020-2024, progressing at a compound annual growth rate of 4% during the forecast period. So, taking this step now is a brilliant choice for many properties to thrive in post-pandemic times.