Jump to content
John Reitman

By John Reitman

Are '22 rounds played a hiccup or a return to pre-pandemic popularity?


Nothing lasts forever.

Throughout 2021, golfers played a record 518 million rounds. This year is not shaping up to be a repeat performance.

According to Golf Datatech’s monthly report, rounds played were down 13 percent through April, compared to the same period last year. Year-over-year rounds played were down in 38 states, with the biggest losers being Minnesota (down 65 percent) and Wisconsin (52 percent). In the few states where rounds played were up, only Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, which Golf Datatech groups together as one locale, showed a significant increase at 29 percent.  

Jim Koppenhaver’s Pellucid Corp., which tracks all manner of data related to participation, says the inventory of golf playable hours - a function of golf-friendly hours throughout the day - is down 11 percent so far this year.

"May was one of those sneaky bad outcomes," Pellucid principal Jim Koppenhaver wrote in his monthly newsletter. "There weren’t any major, headline-grabbing weather events impacting large sections of the country, but we just got ding’d day-by-day in enough geography to make a significant difference." 

So, is today the day the golf world hoped would never come, or is it a temporary bump in the road caused by external factors, like weather? 

A total of 21.3 million people played 518 million rounds last year, which was a 5 percent increase over 2020 and represented nearly a 20 percent increase over the pre-pandemic golf economy. The 518 million rounds played in 2021 matches the industry high previously set in 2000.

Those gains were remarkable, considering that in two years of a global health crisis, the golf industry gained back all of the 85 million rounds played that it took two decades to lose.

Koppenhaver’s weather model separates the country into 45 geographic regions. Golf Playable Hours in May were down in 35 zones, neutral in six and up in only four.

The results for April were similar to those in March when year-over-year rounds played were down by 7.5 percent.

"The April scenario mirrors March’s results and falls into the typically-unsupported industry assertion of 'it was the weather,' " Koppenhaver wrote. "But, this month, it actually was."

Nothing lasts forever. Or does it?

  • Like 1

  • Create New...