Golf as a recreational sport is skyrocketing in the United States during the pandemic, as players across the country look to escape in the outdoors as the coronavirus pandemic rolls on.
For the fifth month in a row, rounds played in the U.S. have climbed past their monthly totals from 2019, according to a report from the National Golf Foundation and Golf Datatech.
In September, rounds played were up 25.5 percent over the same period in 2019. That represents an increase of about 12 million rounds just for that month.
That increase came on the heels of steady climb in which May saw a 6.2 percent increase over May 2019, June was up 13.9 percent, July was up 19.7 percent and August soared 20.6 percent. Those gains followed decreases of 8.5 percent in March 2020 versus March 2019 and 16 percent in April, as many courses were closed in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Every state in the U.S. saw at least a 2 percent gain in September, the third straight month for such widespread gains.
Before the pandemic, January (11 percent) and February (19.1 percent) also had seen gains over 2019. For the year through September, rounds played in the U.S. were up 8.7 percent over the same nine-month period of 2019, despite the depressed months of March and April.
The NGF cautiously projects that total rounds for 2020 could be up as much as 15 percent over 2019, but the organization also points out that the increases in rounds haven’t benefitted all courses equally. The “V-shaped” recovery has been a lifesaver for many local daily fee and private facilities, but many resorts – especially those to which players typically fly – have not seen such as boost as travel overall has diminished during the pandemic.
The NGF also reported that decreases in rain have helped, as good fall weather in many states has boosted rounds played.
Golf gear is hot, too
It’s all in keeping with a Golf Datatech report that golf equipment is flying off the shelves.
The market research company said total sales for July, August and September topped $1 billion, the first time the U.S. market has achieved that height in the third quarter.
It marked a nearly 32 percent jump over the same period in 2019, and it also made that three-month period the second highest quarter in sales ever, trailing only the second quarter of 2008, which logged $1.013 billion in equipment sales.