JUPITER, Florida – The page has officially turned in the summer of 2022.
The peak-season, summer months of June, July and August are disproportionately important for the golf industry, as those months tend to carry almost 1 1/2 times their weight in terms of the year’s total rounds. It’s a make-or-break period for most golf facilities.
This year, at a national level, all three of those critical months were up over the prior year between 3% and 4%, no small feat given that 2021 was a record summer.
As a broader point of comparison, this year’s June to August rounds total paced 14% ahead of the most recent three-year, pre-pandemic average (2017-19) for the same summer stretch.
When the summer was kicking off, we suggested the year’s “slow start” – play was down 10% YOY through April – was likely more a reflection of unfavorable weather than softening demand. The strong summer showing should assuage concerns that golf engagement was slipping from the pandemic lift. In fact, summer play has helped the industry climb out of the sizeable hole Mother Nature dug for us earlier in the year. Through the end of August, we’re now just 2.6% off the record-setting pace of 2021.
These final four months of the year are not insignificant, accounting for just over 30% of annual play, although the month-to-month impacts won’t be felt as acutely as during the summer months.
Still, if the weather remains favorable the rest of the way, we might only be off by about 2% at the end of the year. That’s not bad considering where we were after April.
And don’t misinterpret being “down” a couple of percentage points as a negative — that’s a normal weather-impact year. Chances are, we’re still looking at one of the top three or four years for rounds ever on record.
Speaking of Mother Nature, in signing off this week, our thoughts are with all those affected by Hurricane Ian, one of the strongest storms to hit the U.S. mainland in years.