When restaurants closed and concerts were canceled last year, many people turned to outdoor activities to keep busy.
“2020 was record year for us out at the golf course as it was for probably every golf course in the country,” said Pinewood Country Club Owner Chip Bromann.
Bromann said golf was one of the activities people could stay busy with and safely social distance while still seeing people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
His Hazelhurst golf course saw a lot of people who had stepped away from golf pick it back up again.
“They pulled the clubs out of their garages, dusted them off and wanted to get back into it to get outside and keep active,” he said.
Bromann said he’s seen a big increase in memberships have been with younger generations.
“I think something with stimulus checks have to do with that too a little bit. Gave them an opportunity to get into golf and stay in it,” said Bromann.
Round of Golf & Related Sales Up
Golf Datatech is a company that tracks golf and sales surrounding it.
It found that rounds of golf played last year were up nearly 14-percent, the largest increase since the 1990s.
Equipment sales were also up about 10-percent.
Bromann said he’s feeling the impact of that. Orders of things like golf balls and socks are being delayed weeks or even months.
“We plan ahead each year. We order things in October/November for the following spring which we do quite a bit of, but once we sell out, then we try to reorder again. It’s been difficult to get those things. I’m hearing big shortages from golf clubs that people are buying online and all those types of materials. I can’t even find beer coolers right now,” he said.
Overall golf equipment sales surpassed 2-point-8 billion dollars in 2020.
That’s the third highest annual total of all-time, according to Golf Datatech.
Golfing Beyond the Pandemic
Now the big question for businesses that benefitted from that boom is ‘will people stick with it?’
This spring, businesses is up compared to most years. An early snow melt meant Pinewood could open a month earlier than last year.
Bromann said he thinks business will still be better than average this year, but not quite on par with last year as more things are opening back up.
“Now they’re a bit freer to go out and go to a restaurant, go to their bar, go to the neighborhood place,” said Bromann. “But they’re still getting out there for sure. But we’ll still have a pretty good year. I’m pretty positive of that.”
If people who have discovered or re-discovered their love of the game will keep at it years down the road is still an unknown.
But Bromann says getting to stick around starts when they walk in the door.
“You take care of them when they walk in the door and hopefully that carries over and that they have a good experience out on the golf course. That’s really where it is. They’re coming out here on their own free will. I just have to make sure they’re having a good time and that the golf course is in as good of shape as it can be at this point so they enjoy themselves,” said Bromann.