Open Season – Importance of 2022
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019, Golf Reimagined has been closely observing and analyzing the effect it had on the golf industry at large and what that means for your local club. The biggest takeaway has been that Covid, while negatively affecting most other industries, was actually a shot of adrenaline for the previously negative trending sport. We have discussed this at length in a few articles, so if you want more on this topic, check out our website golfreimagined.ca. The turnaround for golf has been nothing short of astounding. However, the parameters birthing this boom may be changing rapidly. Preparing your golf club for the 2022 season will be imperative to the health of your business going forward, here’s why.
The 2020 season for golf was a big one. While the perils of the pandemic kept people mostly confined to their houses, there was a big realization that a round of golf could be done safely with minor changes to the conduct on course. With a few adjustments to the rules, governments both municipally and federally allowed people to continue to golf as one of the select few activities that were available at the time. This is exactly where the boom comes in. It’s not that golf wasn’t deserving of a comeback, but when it is the only option for exercise, there really wasn’t much of a choice. This is precisely why there was a huge uptick in participation for the first year of the new decade. People were desperate to do something, anything, and this was their only option. Golf courses would lose out on an estimated 20 million tee times at the start of lockdown but would see a 26% increase in participation by the end of the season. It would be easy to assume that a previously downward trending industry would fall back into that trend quickly, but that isn’t what happened.
2021 had even more staggering numbers. The increase in popularity continued to grow as more people turned to golf. Now with celebrities and influencers posting golf-related content, more people flocked to the game for an interjection of fun among all the animosity of the global landscape. In fact, in 2021 the number of global participants in the sport grew to a record high of an estimated 66.6 million and equipment sales went through the roof as a response. This all looks very promising for the sport and two years of measurable increases across the board should be promising going into the next fiscal year…right?
Without a doubt, the positive trend we have seen in the golf industry over the last two years breathes a lot of life back into the sport and displays a lot of promise going forward. Golf certainly isn’t an industry in decline anymore, but that simply does not prevent it from returning to the dire situation it was in before. Over 200 courses were closing each year on average across North America before Covid-19 hit. Enthusiasm and participation were rapidly declining, and the absence of superstar Tiger Woods left much to be desired when it came to being an active member of the golf community.
It is vitally important for golf businesses around the globe to understand that without any change, it is entirely possible for golf to swiftly fall back into the same position it was in, in 2018. The past two years have been fantastic for golf, but it was the only option for many people. Multiple waves of Covid-19 have assured that most other businesses have been closing and reopening on repeat, permitting golf to rise to the new heights that it has. This is exactly why the 2022 season will be THE most important season for golf in recent years. Hopefully, we are in the final stages of the Covid pandemic. If this is true, then more and more services will become consistently available again. When people have their options expanded, what is going to keep them returning to your golf course?
We have seen some other positive trends in the industry that could help retain the customers that have been generated. The increase in technology industry-wide has allowed more people to participate in various ways and boost their excitement around the sport. While venues like TopGolf are helping to transition non-golfers, many golf courses are adding amenities that provide a similar experience. Adding TopTracer technology to your golf range or a simulator to the clubhouse is a sure-fire way to ensure customer retention, especially over the colder months for places like my home in Canada. Perhaps most prominent is the expansion of diversity in the sport. The often-infamous traditional reputation of golf is that of exclusivity, but with the reduction of barriers to entry, a more diverse target market has been achieved and therefore has created wider opportunities for people of all shapes, sizes, and colors to enjoy golf.
There are a plethora of other ideas that Golf Reimagined has amassed to increase customer base and satisfaction over the last few years. We have researched and discussed many areas of the business from service and accommodation to simple activity expansion and have a multitude of solutions for clubs looking to retain the large number of new golfers they currently have. If you want to ensure your team is prepared for the vital 2022 season, head over to golfreimagined.ca for plenty of information on industry trends and business proficiency.