Golf in the USA has also experienced the ‘surge’

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir September 21, 2020 06:58

A new report has found that American golf clubs have seen a surge in participation in recent months, in particular among women and young adults.

The findings are similar to what has been experienced in the UK since most golf courses reopened this spring.

According to research from the National Golf Foundation (NGF), there have been notable increases in participation among juniors and beginners, along with returners, since early summer.

“The number of junior golfers (ages 6-17) could increase by as much as 20 percent this year, a potential Covid-related bump of a half million golfers by year’s end. During a time when many other activities were on hold, including youth sports in many instances, we’ve also seen increases in the number of beginning and returning golfers of about 20 percent during the first half of 2020,” said NGF editorial director Erik Matuszewski.

Nationally, rounds of golf were up 19.7 percent year-over-year in July, marking the biggest increase ever for a high-volume summer month since NGF started monthly tracking in 2000. This reflects an increase of approximately 10 million more rounds than in July 2019. In August, rounds were up three percent nationwide over the same period in 2019, after climbing from a 16% year-to-date deficit on April 30.

“It’s definitely the best activity to do during coronavirus and it’s the best time to get into it because there’s less pressure to know the rules, etiquette…Golf has gotten more laid back because of coronavirus. Because of sanitary reasons, we’re not supposed to rake the sand or move the flag. It’s easier to join the game and learn how to play it,” Rachel Kim, 28, told Yahoo!

Dan Matthews, a 35-year-old producer in the advertising industry, picked up his first golf club in late July. His interest was piqued because he deeply missed the camaraderie of the workplace and it was a project he could focus on.

“I had some co-workers that decided to pick it up and I wanted to join them since they were so very encouraging. I was also looking for something to personally improve on that was more of a solo activity during the pandemic. This way I could do it more frequently on my own and it’s an ideal sport to take up that is socially distant,” he said.

Rebecca Lee-Bentham, formerly ranked the number one female golfer in Canada, says she’s excited about this unprecedented surge in interest, and has been coaching far more this year than she thought she would be.

“There are lots of fresh beginners…the most I’ve ever seen. And my friends who coach are all booked up. The ones that were struggling are now full with students. It’s the busiest I’ve seen golf courses and driving ranges. I’ve seen a lot more demand from the younger demographic — kids, young adults and women,” she said.

With the uptick in interest, manufacturers of all things golf have been reaping the rewards. According to a Golf Datatech report, US golf equipment sales reached $388.63 million in July, the greatest single-month retail sales ever recorded, by a large margin.

“The golf business has been great,” Ed Stack, Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS) CEO said recently. “There’s a number of young people who have come into the game because they’re not playing football or soccer or some other sport… Men, women, and kids have really all jumped into this game and we expect that to continue through the balance of the year.”

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir September 21, 2020 06:58
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