San Diego remains on top, Denver in second, up from seventh last year

BUFFALO GROVE, Illinois (Sept. 25, 2020) — Every year, Pellucid Corporation ranks the top 25 golf markets and determines which ones are in the best position for growth. This year the list made some big shifts. The only place that stayed the same was San Diego, which came in first… again.  

“While the slight majority of markets remained “in place” in the rankings, there was considerably more shift this update than the previous report driven largely by changes in population growth rates, the golfer base and improvements in supply/demand balance in a number of markets,” Jim Koppenhaver wrote.

The biggest, and possibly most surprising, shifts were Denver coming in at number two; up from number 7 last year and Los Angeles dropping to number 11 from number two last year. 

The story of Pellicid’s findings was originally reported by Golf Inc. magazine.

The Midwest also say big movement. Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan all dropped on the list significantly from the prior year. 

Atlanta dropped to 22nd (previously 20th). Phoenix came in at number 3 this year, up one spot from last year. The nation’s capital is now ranked number six, down three spots from last year. 

“We compile over 75 individual measures spanning the macro variables of population, the golfer base, golf supply, supply mix, rounds demand, weather impact and average public regulation-length facility golf fee revenue,” Koppenhaver wrote when explaining the 2019 findings.

Stuart Lindsay is the Principal at Edge Consulting and has been doing market research for 30 years. He said while there is no tracking on golfer’s race, it does show a correlation that areas with a high white and Asian population tend to rank higher on the scorecard. 

“We suspect the racial demographic of the area impacted the top 25 list,” he said.

Lindsay suspects that the big reason that Los Angeles dropped so far on the list was the increase of Hispanics moving into the area and not picking up a golf club.

“LA has a big Hispanic population growth, which could be the reason for the drop,” he said. “While Black participation increases with income, we’re finding the same is not true for Hispanics and we believe that could be because the culture has not adopted golf.”

Another key factor in the findings, according to Lindsay, was that women only account for 23% of the golfing demographic, but make up half of the population. Meaning there’s room for big growth in some cities and states if they can start marketing to the women. 

“Men are more willing to make a fool of themselves in public,” Lindsay said. “That’s the simple, human truth and golf is the essence of that.”

He believes if courses open up more opportunities for lessons and find a way to make women feel confident in the game, they will be more likely to play. 

Overall, the top 25 markets include 115 million people, or 40% of the U.S. population. 

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