As we discussed in this column last week, the golf industry came into 2021 wondering if it could sustain or even surpass the popularity it enjoyed in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Early indications from several sources are that the game did continue its popularity in 2021 when rounds were similar to or even better than the year before.
That’s good news for sure, but the question the industry was pondering at the beginning of this year may be even more relevant as it prepares for 2022.
The Bank of Canada announced its findings in the third quarter Business Outlook Survey on Monday and almost half of the businesses that participated expect inflation to be above three per cent over the next two years.
The higher cost of doing business goes beyond the rising costs of products for food and beverage departments. Anyone who has been to the pumps recently will attest to the rising costs of gas needed for machines necessary in the daily operation of golf courses.
The rising cost of fuel will also affect the shipping of goods, also affected by supply chain disruptions.
Attracting and retaining workers during the current labour shortage in which people are searching for better hours and pay also threatens to raise the cost of doing business. Many of the businesses that took part in the Bank of Canada survey intend to pass increases in labour and other costs on to their customers.
A recent GNN Poll asked readers if it’s inevitable that the golf businesses where they work will need to raise prices across the board for 2022 due to inflation. A strong majority, or 87 per cent, said yes.
How much more is the key question.
I’ve already heard complaints on social media about recent prices increases at golf operations. On the other hand, many businesses see consumers spending more next year instead of saving as they did earlier in the pandemic, but they too are going to have to deal with inflation.
Will they be understanding of a golf operation raising prices due to inflation or will they see it as a gouge and not play as much with more recreation and entertainment options available?
The answer is yet to come, but the question is even more pertinent than it was a year ago.