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October 1, 2022

Strong summer rounds played bode well for demand

By Joe Beditz
Rounds played were up in 2022

2022's peak follows record 2021

The page has officially turned on the summer of 2022.

The peak-season, summer months of June, July and August are disproportionately important for the golf industry, as those months tend to carry almost 1 1/2 times their weight in terms of the year’s total rounds. It’s a make-or-break period for most golf facilities.

This year, at a national level, rounds played in all three of those critical months were up over the prior year between 3 and 4 percent, no small feat given that 2021 was a record summer.

As a broader point of comparison, this year’s June-to-August rounds played total paced 14 percent ahead of the most recent three-year, pre-pandemic average (2017-19) for the same summer stretch.

Rounds played graphWhen the summer was kicking off, we suggested the year’s “slow start” – rounds played were down 10 percent year over year through April – was likely more a reflection of unfavorable weather than softening demand.

The strong summer showing should assuage concerns that golf engagement was slipping from the pandemic lift. In fact, summer play has helped the industry climb out of the sizeable hole Mother Nature dug for us earlier in the year. Through the end of August, we’re now just 2.6 percent off the record-setting pace of 2021.

These final four months of the year are not insignificant, accounting for just over 30 percent of annual play, although the month-to-month impacts won’t be felt as acutely as during the summer months.

Still, if the weather remains favorable the rest of the way, we might only be off by about 2 percent at the end of the year. That’s not bad considering where we were after April. And don’t misinterpret being “down” a couple of percentage points as a negative — that’s a normal weather-impact year. Chances are, we’re still looking at one of the top three or four years for rounds ever on record.

Joe Beditz is with the National Golf Foundation

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Featured image: Gregg Dewalt

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