It will be interesting to see if a poll of member clubs by the National Golf Course Owners Association backs up a monthly GNN Poll that indicates that rounds in Canada levelled off in 2022 after a couple of years of solid growth during the pandemic.
It wouldn’t be surprising if that’s the case since golf now has more competition for the discretionary dollar than it did at the height of the pandemic, with more restaurants, theatres and other games and activities open once again after many were closed due to various health mandates, while golf was considered a safe environment.
The other factors that could be causing golfers to cut back on the rounds they play are inflation, recession and rising interest rates that are causing some to reduce spending (see this week’s GNN Poll).
Last week’s poll asked readers how September rounds compared to the same month in 2021 where they work.
The majority, or 46 per cent of respondents, said rounds were down compared to September of 2021, while 33 per cent said they were about the same. The remaining 21 per cent said rounds were better than September, 2021.
The same question was asked on a monthly basis, beginning with May of this year.
Rounds in May were less than 2021, according to 53 per cent of respondents, with 17 per cent saying about the same. The remaining 30 per cent said rounds were better than a year earlier.
A month later, 56 per cent of respondents said their June rounds were less than in 2021, 29 per cent said about the same and 15 per cent said better than the previous year.
It was pretty much the same story in July, when 55 per cent of respondents said rounds were down compared to 2021, 31 per cent said about the same and 14 per cent said better than July, 2021.
In August, 51 per cent said rounds were less than the previous year, 27 per cent said about the same and 22 per cent said better.
In each month, the majority of respondents said rounds were down, but if you add those who said rounds were about the same and those that said they were better compared to 2021, considered a banner year by most in the industry, the across-the-board numbers don’t seem as ominous.
If the trend continues, however, it will come in 2023, a year in which inflation, rising interest rates and recession will linger. Those are enough concerns for one year, without a downward trend in rounds played adding to it.