Rounds played finished in positive territory in 2004 for the first time in three years, according to the National Golf Foundation and the National Golf Course Owners Association. While the gains were slight (0.7% nationally), they represent relief to the declines of the prior two years. In 2003, rounds played had declined 1.5%; in 2002, 3.0%.
Private club rounds were flat for the year while public courses had slight increases. Premium public courses (the 20% with the highest green fees) had the best showing with nearly a 2% gain, followed by value public courses (the 40% with the lowest green fees) with about a 1% increase.
The Florida hurricanes left the Gulf Coast region in the lurch (down nearly 5%) but an otherwise strong season enabled the Central/South Florida region to finish the year up about 1%. The Mid Atlantic region posted the highest gain for the year (9%), primarily because the region’s rounds were down 13% in 2003 due to record levels of precipitation. Its closest competitor was the Northeast region, up 4.9%.
The report is based on information reported by a panel of nearly 2,600 golf facilities across the U.S. Response rates to monthly surveys vary from 60 to 70 percent. The report is one of a series of quarterly reports, supported and endorsed by a coalition of the industry’s leading associations. For the full fourth quarter report, visit www.ngf.org or www.ngcoa.org.
On the other hand, Golf Datatech says rounds played in 2004 finished slightly down. Despite a 1.5% increase in rounds played in December, the final tally from Golf Datatech showed a 0.1% decline for the year as a whole.
National Golf Foundation www.ngf.org
National Golf Course Owners Association www.ngcoa.org.
Golf Datatech www.golfdatatech.com