Released on : March 29, 2004
1.5% Decrease is Better than Expected Given Severity of Weather
Rounds played in the U.S. decreased from 502 million in 2002 to 495 million in 2003, it was announced today by the National Golf Foundation and GOLF 20/20; the decrease of 1.5% is half of the 3% decrease between 2001 and 2002. The two most frequent reasons provided by those facilities reporting a decrease in rounds were weather (62%) and the economy (55%). Given the severity of the weather in traditionally strong play areas of the country, expectations were that the decrease would be greater.
The hardest-hit areas were the regions that had near-record precipitation in 2003: the Mid-Atlantic (-13.0%) and the Northeast (-5.6%). In regions where the number of play days increased from 2002 to 2003, the number of rounds did as well, specifically: Gulf Coast (+4.4%); South Central (+4.6%); and the Upper Midwest (+4.4%). The full report is available at both www.ngf.org and www.golf2020.com.
The data is based on a survey of some 1,900 golf facilities conducted by the National Golf Foundation in January and February of this year. Data is representative of all golf facilities by region, type (private/public), number of holes, and price point. The percentage of facilities reporting a decline in rounds was 55%, down from 61% in 2002. The percentage of facilities reporting an increase in rounds improved from 28% in 2002 to 38% in 2003.
“Regions that produce a disproportionately high number of rounds – the Northeast and Mid Atlantic – were hard-hit by bad weather in both 2002 and 2003,” said Joe Beditz, President & CEO of NGF. “It’s unlikely that we’ll see record rain three years in a row in those areas. Nationally, we are optimistic that we’ll see the percent change in positive territory – probably low single digits – when the book is closed on 2004.”
“Rounds played is an important indicator of our growth efforts, and as the industry’s focus on player development continues to gain traction, we expect to start seeing that reflected in an increase in rounds,” added GOLF 20/20 Executive Director Ruffin Beckwith.
About the NGF
The National Golf Foundation, founded in 1936, is the industry leader in providing accurate information and insights on the business of golf. Based in Jupiter, Fla., the NGF serves many constituencies in the golf industry including equipment manufacturers; builders and developers; facilities and ranges; course architects; retailers; turf maintenance suppliers; golf associations and the media.
About GOLF 20/20
GOLF 20/20 is a collaborative effort of the entire golf industry, with the following mission: To align the golf industry behind a plan that addresses the future of golf in a strategic manner, with an emphasis on accelerating growth and participation, and creating new avenues of access into the game.