Golf 20/20 Publishes Industry Report For 2002

Released on : May 29, 2003

Ponte Vedra Beach, FL- GOLF 20/20, the golf industry initiative to enhance the growth of interest and participation in the game, has published its Industry Report on various aspects of the industry in 2002. This is the second year of the Report, which can be accessed by  clicking here.

The 20/20 Industry Report was undertaken to look collectively at information from a number of different sources; to identify trends, opportunities and areas of concern; and to help measure the progress of efforts to grow the game. Information on participation and course development comes from the National Golf Foundation. The NGF and the National Golf Course Owners Association, with the support of all the major golf associations, have undertaken annual calculations of rounds directly from golf facilities. Nielsen Media Research and ESPN Sports Poll are the primary sources of information on interest, which is divided into television ratings and fan base.

“Last year’s report offered a number of new perspectives that helped shape our strategies and research efforts for 2003, and that was its primary purpose,” said Ruffin Beckwith, World Golf Foundation Senior Vice President and Executive Director of the GOLF 20/20 initiative. “Our industry had never looked at all this information collectively before, and it’s a great help in determining where we need to go and how we can get there. I’m sure this year’s report will have the same impact.”

Some of the observations from the Industry Report for 2002 include:

  • Youth Movement. Among the most encouraging elements of the report is the information on interest and participation among youngsters. Since 1996, there has been an 11% increase in “”fans””
    ages 12-17, and a 39% increase in “avid fans,” as reported by the ESPN Sports Poll. The Industry Report for 2002 also indicates a huge jump in junior participation, from 4.4 million participants ages 5-17 in 2001, to 6.1 million in 2002. “While the size of that increase seems a bit abnormal and may fall back a bit next year,” the Report states, “it still indicates that some of the interest is being converted into participation. Local and national junior programs are definitely having an impact, and the timing would seem to be right for the National School Golf Program that will be tested this upcoming school year.”
  • Participation. The NGF’s study on participation indicates that there was a 1.1% decrease in total participants from 2001 to 2002, from 37.1 million to 36.7 million. “This includes the increase in junior participants, but also a seemingly aberrant decrease in the number of range users, from 4.9 million in both 2000 and 2001, to 3.1 million in 2002,” said Beckwith. “We shouldn’t be too concerned unless those numbers hold up for another year or two.”
  • Fans and Viewers. Overall interest in golf remains the most encouraging indicator for the future. The average rating of all golf telecasts, when weighted by the duration of the telecast, has actually increased since 1996, which is remarkable given the dilution in programming and overall trend in sports television ratings. PGA TOUR ratings have similarly increased. Golf stacks up very favorably in comparison with other sports in terms of the growth of its fan base. All signs point toward interest and latent demand being as high as they have ever been.
  • Frequency. The decrease in rounds of golf of 3% between 2001 and 2002 is coming mostly from the population of avid golfers (25+ rounds per year). Consequently, the average number of rounds per golfers dropped under 20, to 19.18. The issue of frequency is being studied this year and the report will be published at the 20/20 conference in October.”
  • Weather. Across the country and throughout the year, weather patterns were not far from normal in 2002. But a closer look reveals that in the areas of the country that experienced the most severe drop in rounds (Upper Midwest, Lower Midwest, Northeast, Southeast), there were very abnormal amounts of precipitation during key golf months. Weather continues to be the #1 reason given by operators for both increases and decreases in rounds played.”

GOLF 20/20 is a four-year old initiative of the World Golf Foundation focused on aligning the golf industry behind programs that impact the growth of interest and participation in golf. To date it has been funded by contributions from the PGA TOUR, PGA of America, United States Golf Association, National Golf Course Owners Association, Golf Course Superintendents Association, and Ladies Professional Golf Association. The World Golf Foundation oversees the World Golf Hall of Fame, The First Tee, and the National Minority Golf Foundation, as well as GOLF 20/20.