Bill Cromwell , Editor-in-Chief TEE TIMES GOLF GUIDE™ Magazine
What a Difference a Year Makes …
This is the issue I typically look back on the past year and
look forward to the coming year . One of the nice things about publishing this magazine for the past 20 years , among countless others , is being able to look back over the many past years and review what has or has not changed about the golf industry . Usually , there are plenty of subtle changes from year to year , which often relate to the individuals or management companies within our local golf industry and / or the industry ’ s economic state , both locally and nationally .
I think we all agree that 2020 has been a year like no one has ever experienced . I certainly don ’ t want to endure another year under a pandemic lifestyle , and I ’ m positive no one else does .
Looking back at my December 2019 editorial , “ ironically ” it stated the following . ( I ’ ll tell why it ’ s ironic after you read it .)
I recently [ 2019 ] read a golf marketer ’ s article that stated , “ The business of golf has dramatically changed , waiting lists have vanished , memberships worldwide are in sharp decline and the number of new courses opening pales in comparison to the number of courses closing . Participation , depending on who you believe , is down 10-20 % in less than a decade and online booking engines have changed the game .”
The article went on to say , “ Discounting has significantly lowered the price of the average round . Meanwhile , the cost of running a course has increased just as dramatically … most clubs are hanging onto for grim death .”
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I had plenty to say ( or disagree ) about those statements in 2019 . You can find that issue on our website and see the December 2019 issue .
The point of my rehashing the statement , “ that most clubs are hanging onto for grim death ” predictions of the 2019 article by an injudicious golf marketer , is that unlike politicians — COVID-19 will go away — the sooner the better ! However , golf will endure like it has for centuries . In fact , golf has flourished during the year of this despicable pandemic lifestyle ! Ironically , the opposite of the 2019 predictions .
During our current “ Pandemic ” status , “ The golf business has dramatically changed ” — indeed ! Readily available tee times — unless booked a minimum of three days in advance — have vanished ! “ Participation ” has sky-rocketed and increased 10-20 % ( conservatively ) with more new golfers entering the game than in the past decade . The local golf industry is as strong or stronger . It is the busiest I ’ ve seen it since 2005 . Who would have thought a pandemic would increase golf rounds and welcome so many new golfers to the sport ? Isn ’ t that “ Ironic ?”
I believe numerous factors , including work and lifestyle changes brought on by the pandemic , will retain strong golf participation during 2021 and beyond . People are rediscovering the great outdoors and discovered that a golf course is a pretty good place to enjoy clean , fresh air .
Happy Holidays ! Hit ’ em often and straight during 2021 .
6 December 2020 TEE TIMES GOLF GUIDE
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