The National Golf Foundation (NGF) weekly survey ending June 7 on the well-being of the industry found golfers making their way back onto courses in increasing numbers as facility restrictions have eased and COVID-19 anxieties continue to fade.
The current NGF research from more than 4,700 facilities targets “core golfers” -- defined as U.S. adults playing a minimum of eight rounds over a year and accounting for nearly 90% of all golf spend. The trends show 82% of these players have recently teed it up and roughly 86% of the coveted consumer group expecting to play in the next couple of weeks. The overall golf spend across the board looks poised to rise as well.
The industry snapshot again found 98% of all U.S. golf courses now open. This was the same number from the NGF poll ending May 30. While there is still widespread nationwide reluctance to fully resume normal outside activities, the easy social-distancing aspects of golf could well lead to more discretionary spending on the sport. As a comparsion, 42% of core golfers plan to dine in restaurants in the coming weeks and 22% say they would go out for a drink at a bar or brewery.
One note of caution presented itself in the survey, as more than half of the golfers surveyed now say they are comfortable being within three feet of others when outside as opposed to the suggested six-foot restriction cited in most guidelines. On the issue, the NGF stated in the report: “The minimal hope here -- selfishly, you could say -- is that golfers at least respect these spacing guidelines at the golf course, as official opinions on golf’s safety as a recreational activity can change based on golfer and operator behaviors.”
The opening of golf retail outlets rose as well with an estimated 92% opening their doors as Father’s Day nears. This is up from 84% last week and 61% a month back.
While subjective, it appears golf is faring much better than other outdoor recreational industries. And with the PGA Tour restarting its 2020 tournament schedule in Fort Worth for the Charles Schwab Invitational at Colonial this week after its coronavirus induced hiatus, golf is looking solid in most every aspect.