The golf industry is said to be worth USD$85 billion, based on estimates from the Professional Golfers’ Association of America. In the past few years before the pandemic, it showed a slight decline in popularity, owing to various factors.
In the months following the worst lockdowns in the United States, however, more Americans have returned to the golf courses to spend their time, giving the sector a much-need boost.
But why are more people tempted to tee off these days? Here are a few insights explaining why Americans may prefer to stay in golf courses instead of spending time somewhere else.
Playing golf may be safer than jogging in parks
After months of staying inside their homes and going out only to buy essentials, people couldn’t wait to step outside and enjoy the air and the sun. For months, stepping outside only meant jogging in the park and walking the dog. Unfortunately, quite a few people still converge in these outdoor spaces, thus the fear of getting the virus, stands.
Next to parks, Americans find that staying in the vast green lands is a breath of fresh air, quite literally. If you’re serious about the game, here’s a guide to becoming a professional golfer.
Playing golf could be better than going to the gym
Despite the push to remain physically active amid the pandemic, only essential businesses have since been allowed to operate. Unfortunately, establishments such as gyms are not viewed as essential and thus were closed for a longer time. While waiting for health clubs to reopen, individuals turned to home exercise and indoor golf to get moving.
Once the gym started running again, the fear of contracting the virus due to limited space in these forms of establishments forced some gym buffs to cancel their memberships.
And, while you’re not expected to perform vigorous exercises, playing golf does improve your concentration and strategic-thinking, among others.
Renewed interest for the sport
The higher demand for golf course reopening during the pandemic was driven by a renewed interest in the sport. Nationwide, there was an increase among rookie players and former golfers who decided to pick up their golf clubs.
Based on figures from Golf Datatech, there was an increase of new players who purchased golf equipment. In April 2020 at the height of the pandemic, golf equipment sales peaked at 69.5%. This was the first positive growth following a sales dip for the first three months of last year. In July 2020, sales showed an increase of 53.4% hike as compared to the 2019 data.
In addition, online tee time reservations app GolfNow reported that between April 23 to May 5 2020, the number of rounds sold online showed a 60% increase compared to the previous year.
The return of the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour in June 2020 was said to have augmented this renewed enthusiasm.
Playing golf is a great pastime
A 2020 survey conducted jointly by the Washington Post and the University of Maryland showed that 41 of those who participated agreed to reopen gold courses, the greatest number of any type of business included in the poll.
In May 2020, almost all of the golf courses in the US are open to all players, as reported by golf.com. The first states to open following the strict lockdowns last year were the states of Oregon, Iowa, Vermont, California, and North Carolina.
Players believe golf is a safe sport
With its wide-open spaces and a regulated number of persons in the range, golfers believe the sport is perfect for the pandemic. It’s touted as one of the safest outdoor sport, which by the way, can be played indoors, too.
Even pre-pandemic, the game doesn’t require more than four persons in a round. Team members are naturally physical distant from each other. A player can stay more than six feet away from the other players if they want to, and it won’t affect the gameplay, unlike playing basketball.
The golf industry has CDC-backed health protocols
As early as May 2020, the umbrella organization of the entire US Golf Industry put their heads together to form Back2Golf and presented a unified set of guidelines to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC provided additional inputs in maintaining the minimum health standards in golf courses and other settings.
For instance, golfers are not allowed to remove flagsticks, with some courses wrapping them to prevent players from reaching into them to get their putts. Apart from requiring guests to wear masks, sanitation devices, and partitions were added in golf carts.
Groundskeepers were likewise trained on the minimum health safety protocols.
People travel less
The tourism sector is one of the hardest-hit industries when the pandemic lashed out. As thousands of leisure trips were postponed indefinitely, this left people with more time and money in their hands. And, because of the movement restrictions and closures of offices outside of the essential industries, there’s not a lot of choices left for outdoor activities.
As people can’t watch movies, go to clubs, or watch a baseball game, the only option was to hit the golf courses. In the early stages of the pandemic, some courses remained open.
Playing golf has physical and emotional benefits
As the pandemic took the Americans’ chances of enjoying the outdoors, the privilege of playing golf was able to restore it.
Since it’s not possible to play golf during the winter season, gold rounds should be done during a sunny, summer season. Sun exposure, coupled with fresh air, can do wonders for your body. Regular sun exposure can help stabilize your mood and enhance the sleep quality. Complemented by a healthy diet and lifestyle, it can even boost your immune system—critical to preventing the deadly virus.
Playing golf also help your keep your emotions balanced. It’s rare for professional golfers to display violent outbursts while on the green. That’s because they’re trained to keep their emotions in check.
Golf knows no age
Playing golf is an activity that anyone can enjoy. Unlike other sports, there’s no age limit for golfers. And, because both young and old can tee off, some families have decided to make golf rounds an enjoyable bonding experience.
Parents find that letting their teenage sons or daughter play this game is a good way to reintroduce a healthy lifestyle. Instead of spending hours staring at the computer or smart phone, children can instead move around and practice self-discipline by playing golf. The sport also helps keep your child gain other life skills such as motivation and grit.
The Bottom Line
The pandemic has affected most of the businesses, except perhaps the golf industry. While it remains to be seen whether the renewed enthusiasm for the green will continue to rise in the coming years, it looks as though, this fad will not die anytime soon.