In keeping with GNN tradition in the dozen plus years since its inception, things will begin to slow down over the holidays.
We’ll be on call for any breaking stories and continue to report on the pro tours, but we’re taking the time to do some administrative work and, most importantly, spend more time with our families.
Even spending time with loved ones, that most cherished of holiday traditions, is being limited this year, if you follow the recommendations of health officials in their efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus, the story of 2020, not only in golf, not only in sports, but in every facet of life on this planet.
Hopefully, none of your family or friends have directly affected by COVID-19 and, if they were, they only experienced mild symptoms unlike those who had to be hospitalized, put in ICU, put on a ventilator or died. There are far too many around the globe who have met these fates and the numbers continue to grow inside and outside this country.
For most of us, the focus is on the health and happiness of family and friends, which is the way it should every holiday season. It just seems magnified in this year of the pandemic, despite limits on the size of gatherings, virtual dinners over in-person meals and limited shopping options, depending on where you reside.
COVID fatigue may tempt us to let our guards down, but may you and yours stay safe and healthy for the industry needs all hands on deck when the golf season resumes where you reside.
Considering what’s happened this year, it may be difficult to see through the doom and gloom, but as if from a Charles Dickens tale, the spirits of the past, present and future may be taking us to a better place, at least from a business perspective.
Consider, if you will, how the golf industry looked, when coronavirus first struck early in 2020 and lockdowns became common for all businesses. Yet, golf caught a break as it was seen as an activity in which it participants could safely distance themselves from others and many operations were open again by the middle of May.
It wasn’t perfect. In many cases, pro shops and food and beverage operations were limited by coronavirus restrictions that also cancelled tournaments and other special events held at golf operations.
While those revenue sources were affected, the industry benefitted from not only a remarkable rise in rounds played, but also, new demographics coming into the game, according to anecdotal evidence.
Whether these newcomers and those returning to the game are here for the long term remains to be seen, but right now, golf operations are in the same situation as old Ebenezer Scrooge in that their own actions in terms of programs and how warmly they welcome people of all ages, genders and ethnicities will determine future events and, ultimately, success.
It goes beyond the dramatic increase in rounds played. Golf club manufacturers across the board are reporting increases in sales and in the United States, Golf Datatech reported a 42 per cent rise in third quarter sales of golf equipment.
Such news indicates a long term investment in the game, an investment many businesses would love to have, especially right now.
Add to these positive signs the fact that the coronavirus vaccine is being rolled out across Canada right now and the jabs in most people’s arms should be complete by this time next year.
Coronavirus is still new to us and there are no guarantees on how restrictions will affect us four months from now as we’re getting ready for the start of the 2021 season, but we’ll get through this as a society and as an industry. It won’t be easy, for sure, but we can’t be consumed by the uncertainty.
We’ve made it this far and we’ll take it day by day until the end. If we hold on to something, let it be that we’ve been fortunate as an industry compared to those who have gone out of business, lost jobs, or had their health affected by coronavirus through no fault of their own.
The holidays may be more subdued this year, but those in the golf industry have indictions that fortune during this pandemic will continue as we emerge from it.
Have a great holiday from GNN.