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Golfdom Report: 21 at last

By , and |  January 8, 2021 0 Comments
No. 17, The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards Lake Course, Salem, S.C. Chad Prest, Director of Agronomy. (Photo courtesy of The Cliffs)

No. 17, The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards Lake Course, Salem, S.C., Chad Prest, Director of Agronomy. (Photo courtesy of The Cliffs)

What a difference a year makes.

When we published last year’s Golfdom Report, we had never heard of COVID-19. Our topics were expectations for 2020, labor, how readers use social media and what they thought of robotic mowers.

Never has a Golfdom Report aged so poorly in just a year.

With the benefit of experiencing the tumultuous year that was 2020, this year’s Golfdom Report offers much more insight. Reader expectations are through the roof for 2021. A whopping 90 percent of survey respondents are optimistic for the upcoming golf season, up from 70 percent the year before.

More than 90 percent of respondents saw an increase of rounds at their facility. And, a 50/50 split of respondents had lost workdays as a result of a positive test of COVID-19.

This year, 324 readers took our survey. As a thank you, Golfdom is donating $1 for every returned survey to the Wee One Foundation. We will save some of the survey responses for future issues, as other answers offered interesting feedback worthy of further coverage.

How would you describe your expectations for the golf economy? (Graph: Golfdom Staff)

How would you describe your expectations for the golf economy? (Graph: Golfdom Staff)

Spring ’21 — a perfect situation?

In last month’s issue, we spoke to GCSAA chapter presidents from 10 different states and the sentiment was practically universal: While COVID-19 is an awful disease, it did golf a tremendous favor by bringing more people to the game.

Mark Merrick, CGCS, vice president of sales and marketing for Genesis Turfgrass in the mid-Atlantic, says he hasn’t seen this much excitement about golf in a very long time. He forecasts that the spring of 2021 will be a golf boom for the record books.

“Talk about COVID-19 and how bad it is, but once we get through it … we’ve talked about it for years, about getting more people to play. Well, all of a sudden, it happened as a byproduct of COVID,” Merrick says. “I think it’s going to be the perfect situation come next spring — when golf starts all over the country big time. More and more people will be playing golf. COVID-19 seems to be almost under control. We’ll have a dark period here, but the so-called ‘cure’ is coming out. COVID is on the downswing, and everyone has picked up golf in the past six months. It’s going to be great timing for everyone in the golf industry.”

Joey Warren, assistant general manager of Mount Vintage GC in North Augusta, S.C., says he’s noticed a growing interest in golf for the past three years, but 2020 was beyond expectations.

“(Last) year, we met our projections before the end of October,” he says of rounds. “As awful as the coronavirus has been, the golf industry in general really prospered. We’re fortunate to be an outdoor sport where people are all spread out. We’ve just been blessed that so many people came here to play golf.”

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