Golf’s popularity picked up during the pandemic, and nearly two years later, the sport is still swinging for the stars.
The socially-distant sport saw a huge increase in the amount of new players during the last year and a half. (Much to the chagrin of long-time golfers like myself because it's much more difficult to get a tee time nowadays!)
In 2020, golf had its biggest net increase since 1997 at 60 million-plus rounds, with 3 million people taking the course for the first time. Roughly 500 million rounds were played last year. This year, according to the National Golf Foundation, the total number of rounds played in the U.S. will surpass the number of rounds played in 2020 by 4-5%.
The success of Team USA at this year's Ryder Cup, in which they beat Team Europe by a historic margin, also helped catapult the popularity of the sport in the country. The final day of the Ryder Cup averaged 3.51 million viewers.
The cast of characters on the PGA Tour, now not solely reliant on the popularity of Tiger Woods (even though he still moves the needle like no other athlete in their respective sport) have caught the eye of many casual golf fans. With Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka leading the charge due to their hysterical social media rivalry that resulted in a nationally televised match, there are plenty of interesting personalities on tour marketing themselves in a way that catches the attention of a new generation of golf fans.
From the professional golfers themselves to local golf courses, businesses everywhere want a piece of the success. The PGA Tour’s purse jumped nearly 14% for each event, totaling $427 million, thanks to new sponsors and broadcasting deals.
Companies already established in the golf industry are benefiting, too. The PGA Tour Superstore, the industry’s largest retailer, told Forbes that its business has been up roughly 70% over the last two years. Last month, Callaway Golf reported that its third-quarter revenue increased 80% year-over-year to $856 million.
Even companies not in the golf industry are interested in expanding into the space. Lamborghini known for its sports and luxury vehicles, announced the development of golf carts in October.
If you have been intrigued by the game of golf, there's no better time than the present to get involved. How many of you are golfers? How many of you have gotten into the game since the start of the pandemic? What is your favorite club in the bag? Who is your favorite golfer? Leave your comments below and discuss it with me!