Rounds played see biggest annual gain in a decade

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 | 7:00 p.m.

Here's some very welcome news: The number of rounds played nationwide in 2012 was up 6.4 percent over 2011, according to PGA PerformanceTrak. That represents the largest single-year percentage increase in rounds played since 2000.

And along with growth in rounds played, golf fee revenue increased by 6.6 percent last year, based on reports from the facilities participating in the monthly surveys. Some details:

--48 states showed an increase in golf fee revenue for 2012
--17 states showed golf fee revenue increases over 10 percent
--24 states had golf fee revenue increases ranging from 5.0 to 9.9 percent
--Seven states had golf fee revenue increases from 1 to 4.9 percent

Additionally, the PGA PerformanceTrak report indicated that merchandise revenue was up 8.9 percent, food and beverage revenue was up 5.9 percent and total facility revenue was up 4.3 percent last year as compared to 2011.

These increases were enabled in part by the weather, the report said. According to the National Climatic Data Center, 2012 marked the warmest year on record for the United States, and that led to a 6.5 percent increase in the number of days the average facility was open throughout the year.

"While the increase in rounds played in 2012 was supported by favorable weather conditions, consumers made the choice to play golf, rather than participate in other recreational activities," said PGA of America President Ted Bishop. "It's not an aberration that golf facilities that are offering player development programs to support Golf 2.0, are driving more consumers to the course, while positively impacting the bottom lines at their facilities. We continue to build momentum, and I’m confident that these programs, complemented by the favorable weather conditions, are leading to the increase in rounds played."
PGA PerformanceTrak, a joint venture between the PGA of America and the National Golf Course Owners Association of America, is the golf industry's leading rounds and revenue data collection and benchmarking service. More than 3,000 golf facilities contribute to the PerformanceTrak reports on a monthly basis.