IN THIS ISSUE
56 Million Golf Gamers... Let’s Get (some of) Them from the Console to the Course!
A Pace of Play Resource for Facility Owners/Operators
July 2012 Rounds Played Report
Changing Perceptions of Golf’s Affordability – Has the Supply/Demand Imbalance Lowered the Price of Golf?
List of NGF's New Members in Q2
NGF TOP 5
Sponsored by: NGF's GolfSAT
Top 5 states for golf course renovations in the past 5 years
Drinking in the Board Room?

Kurt Kuebler, CCM and partner in Kopplin & Kuebler - Private Club Advisors; shares thoughts and wisdom on: What is it that causes common sense to be 'checked at the door'?

MORE

Do you have a "License to Do Your Job?"

Global Golf Advisors’ Henry DeLozier, helps explain the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan and how they affect your near and long term goals.    

MORE
EXCLUSIVE MEMBER SAVINGS WITH:


LEARN MORE


Changing Perceptions of Golf’s Affordability – Has the Supply/Demand Imbalance Lowered the Price of Golf?

In a recent NGF pulse-check of Core golfers, we set out to gauge perceptions of the affordability of a round and how it has changed over the past five years.  Considering the fierce competition for golfers and the high perceived impact of discounting, we were surprised to hear that most survey respondents felt golf has gotten less affordable since 2007.  When asked to consider what it costs to play golf today compared to five years ago, half felt that it has become less affordable (50.1% - see chart below).  The most common response was that playing golf was “somewhat less affordable today” (41.5%).

We must note that this measure of “affordability” (as positioned here), is a metric that is relative to an individual’s personal financial situation.  Meaning, this is not merely an analysis of whether the average published greens fees have increased (although we will look at that), but a measure of how affordable golf is within the context of a Core golfer’s life.

In the research, these perceptions remained consistent regardless of age group, with the younger group (age 18-39) having the greatest relative incidence of “less affordable” responses at 52.3%.

Not surprisingly, lower income segments showed a higher incidence of finding golf “less affordable” than five years ago (see chart below). 

People less committed to the game (see “Golfer Type”) also proved more likely to feel that golf is less affordable now (53.7%).

So what has actually happened to the average published greens fee nationally during the past five years?  NGF Facility database tracking shows that the average Daily Fee greens fee (18-hole regulation courses) has stayed quite level with 2007 rates (decreasing by only a fraction).   However, both Private and Municipal fees have increased by over 7% during the same period (see table below).  Although this does not account for the increased prevalence of discounting (actual price paid vs. published rate), frequent play cards, couponing or other price reductions, it is a reasonable proxy for the overall price trajectory. 

There have, however, been some measured decreases in published greens fees over the past five years at Daily Fee courses in the Mountain (-4.5%), South Atlantic (-3.3%) and the East North Central (-2.1%). 

Despite the supply and demand imbalance and heavy competition (and the oft-discussed prevalence of tee-time discounting in the industry), golfers are not perceiving a round of golf as being more affordable than five years ago. 

Featured Report
56 Million Golf Gamers... Let’s Get (some of) Them from the Console to the Course!
Every January since 1986, the NGF has surveyed a nationally-representative sample of 40,000 Americans to determine the number of golf participants. This article reports on one area of interest that NGF examined for the first time this year: golf gamers.
Published by VCT