The growth of golf popularity is far greater than the history of epidemics

Buckets of golf in the driving range of the 2021 Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia on September 3, 2021.

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Golf became popular in almost all respects by 2020 when people were looking for outdoor distance activities during the epidemic.

A.D. By 2020, more than 24.8 million people in the United States played golf, more than 2% a year and the largest net increase in 17 years, according to the National Golf Foundation. The sport has also seen the highest percentage of beginner and young golfers since 1997 – the year in which the 21-year-old Tiger Woods won his first major championship.

The epidemic is almost two years since it first came to the United States, and as other activities reopen, golf continues to grow in 2021, offering long-distance golf brands such as Calaway and Title. It has also promoted companies that want to take advantage of changing demographics and trends in the sport.

Golf players continue to flock to the courses

For many in the golf industry, it was not clear if the growth in 2020 was a pandemic or a turning point for the sport.

According to USAF data, the number of rounds played in 2021 at the end of July – the highest in the US golf season – increased by 16.1% compared to 2020. Compared to July, when all golf courses reopened in some states, the number of July courses has dropped by 3.1%, with 2021 numbers significantly higher than the previous year’s average.

While those increases are mainly driven by older, enthusiastic golfers: The average turnover played by golf increased to 20.2 in 2020;

“New participants are growing, they are stuck in the game and they want to be better,” said David Maher, CEO of Golf Concert Accent Holdings. A lot of energy comes from simple and consistent players, more teenagers, more women, younger [players], And many families. “

According to NGF data, the number of female golfers has increased. It grew by 8% in 2020, the largest growth in five years. A.D. Forty-four percent of those who played golf in the course of 2020 were under the age of 40, and in the 30s, people of the same age played golf as in the 60s, according to the NGF.

Golf equipment companies are seeing growth in sales

That increase in new golf players has been a blessing in disguise for Achnetnet, which has golf brands such as Title and Fujay.

In the United States, acupuncture sales in the second quarter grew by 117.1%, up 98.1% on Titleist golf sales and 111% on Titleist Golf Club sales. Sales in the United States increased by 75.2% in the first half of fiscal year 2021.

Kalaway, which has a wide range of golf equipment and clothing labels, including ball, club and other equipment, has also seen growth.

Earlier this month, the company expanded its overall financial outlook for the third quarter and 2021, easing the performance of its brands and disrupting some supply chains.

More and more people are joining golf courses. [there are] We think there will be a lot of participants, a lot of consumers and long-term trends in the game, ”Clay Brewer, general manager of Calaway, told CNBC in June. The market will be bigger than the outbreak. »

Dick Sports, which sells golf products as well as golf-specialized golf galaxies in stores, has been one of the drivers of growth in recent quarters.

“We continue to see consistent growth in the golf business,” Dick Sports Equipment CFO’s Lee Beltsky said in a call to the company’s second quarter earnings analyst on August 25, 2022, “The golf business has been very strong for us.”

While the company did not report on the performance of the golf gala stores in its revenue report, CEO Laurent Hobart said:

Hobart said the company has “invested in talent and is a loyal adviser to golf enthusiasts at all levels” and recently opened the first-generation golf galaxy prototype store outside of Boston. There, at the Golf Galaxy Performance Center, golfers can not only buy golf products, but also take lessons, hit homes and practice custom club equipment.

In May, South Korea’s private equity investment group acquired the largest buyer in the golf course, the $ 1.7 billion Taylor Made Golf. Taylor Made, who produces clubs, balls and uniforms, was sold to KPS Capital Partners in Adidas for $ 425 million in 2017.

Jinheok Jing, co-founder and general manager of Centroid Investment Partners, said in a press release that the industry is currently in high demand, increasing strong long-term opportunities around the world. South Korea is the third largest market for golf in the world behind the United States and Japan.

Overall, golf equipment sales have doubled in recent months, according to NPD data, by 2% in June, July and August 2021, and by 2% in 2020, compared to 2020. However, sales numbers for June, July and August 2021 have increased by 50% in 2019 compared to these months.

Matt Paul, NPD senior industry consultant, said many consumers are expected to adopt a healthier lifestyle after the post-epidemic, and this includes golf and outdoor activities that should benefit golf.

However, it is still unclear how supply chain issues affecting other industries will affect golf equipment, which could limit growth.

Officials from both Acushnet and Callaway noted that there were potential road delays in Vietnam, citing ongoing supply chain issues. Both Acushnet and Callaway declined to comment on this article.

“There are inventory issues, but when we look at most of the categories we are looking at, we see business starting up in the mountains,” says Paul. “But, [golf sales] They are re-launching at a new level and although we have not made much progress, it is a much bigger business than it was two years ago.

Golf is expanding beyond education

The emergence of interactive golf practices beyond the traditional 18-hole course has helped golf develop especially for new audiences.

Since its launch in China earlier this month, TopGolf, which now has 70 locations in six countries, is one of the main drivers. While the actual golf experience reflects what can be found in the spinning round, Togolese requires a more social and integrated experience with drinking and food.

Calaway, which previously owned 14% of TopGolf, joined the company for $ 2.66 billion to acquire the rest.

TopGolf reported revenue of $ 1.1 billion in 2019 and an increase of 30% since 2017. Calaway Toppolf earned $ 325 million in the second quarter, while similar land sales were up 90 percent compared to 90 percent. .

Both grew up as well as imaginative coaches who were used for recreational purposes and for advanced golf training.

Full swing, which produces golf simulations for commercial, residential and recreational areas, was acquired by investment company Brune Capital, which reported $ 160 million in July. Although the simulators can be used for other sports, the golf course is currently used by PGA Tour pros, such as Woods and Jon Rahm, as a star for the European team in the Ryder Cup.

“I think there is a misinterpretation of the impact of golf education on the out-of-the-box, real-world golf course and participation,” said David Arutin, a staff member at Brown Capital. He is an entry point for golf and is more likely to be involved in the sport whenever he swings a golf club or in a recreational area.

A.D. In addition to the 24.8 million people who played the golf course in 2020, another 12.1 million driving zones, areas such as TopGolf or indoor swings such as Full Swing, participated in the “off-road golf course”. It produces.

“The integration of golf with technology and other forms of recreation is a good sign for the future of the sport,” he said.

Golf’s biggest events have changed many spectators this year. In April, the final round of Masters on CBS increased by an average of 9.45 million viewers, up 69% from 2020. The final day of the PGA Championship in May saw an average of 6.58 million viewers, up 29% from the previous year. And in June, the final round of the US Open increased by an average of 5.7 million viewers, up 76% from 2020.

Sports coverage is expanding in a new way. PGA Tour is working with Netflix to create an episodic documentary series recorded on ‘Survive to Drive’, a popular Formula 1-based series that brought new fans to Motorsport. NBA star and golfer Stephen Curry recently signed an agreement with NBCUniversal to work as a project host, one of the elements of which is creating content for the NBC Sports Golf Channel.

“A lot of people have tried golf and it may not be as hard as they thought, and that will create a whole new generation of golf fans, especially in the young population, who will now become fans and participate in the sport,” he said. That’s fun for anyone involved in the golf business.

Disclaimer CNBC parent company NBCUniversal is a Ryder Cup distribution partner.

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