IN THIS ISSUE
2012 Golf Facility Supply Update
Golf Course Transactions Remain Highly Active – What are Investors’ & Lenders’ Transaction Drivers & Expectations?
NGF’s 6th Annual Golf Business Symposium - April 24th
January 2013 Rounds Played Report
2012 Rounds Played – The Largest Single-Year Jump Since the Millennium
List of NGF's New Members in Q4
NGF TOP 5
Sponsored by: NGF's GolfSAT
Top 5 - User communities Core Golfers have joined on a social networking site
2013: The Year the Grownups Talk about Failed Golf Courses or Just More Litigation?
by Robert Harris

Golf disputes making their way to court dockets often involve issues arising out of failed golf courses.

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Don’t Miss The Mobile Connection
by Marlene Stone

Over the last several years, smart phones, and consequently mobile apps, have gained huge momentum thanks to consumers’ quick adoption of the technology.

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2012 Rounds Played – The Largest Single-Year Jump Since the Millennium

The most influential factor in the golf economy in 2012 was the 5.7% increase in rounds played, through the end of the year. The resulting increase of 26 million rounds takes the national total to about 490 million. Since rounds declined approximately 11% or 55 million during the past 10 years, 2012 alone recovers half of that dip.

Nearly every state experienced a gain versus 2011. The geographic engine for the improvement has been a huge section of the northern half of the country where average year-over-year growth was 9.5%, compared to 3.8% for the rest of the country. This area from the Dakotas to Vermont (technically, the North Central, North East Central and Mid-Atlantic regions) drove up the national numbers… mainly because 44% of all U.S. golf courses and 47% of America’s public golf courses are located there.


Source: Golf Datatech National Rounds Played Report and NGF golf facility database.
Click to Enlarge

Improved weather was the biggest influence on rounds played. PGA PerformanceTrak has reported a healthy 6.5% increase in playable days nationwide in 2012. Weather in the northern region of the country that drove up the national rounds played numbers was particularly favorable compared to 2011.  Playable days in these states increased 13.6%, compared to 5.5% in the rest of the country.

It is important to note that Mother Nature probably doesn’t deserve all the credit for the increase in rounds played. National measurements of consumer confidence and spending have also been slowly and consistently edging upward from dips we saw in the Great Recession. Feelings of personal financial well-being are undoubtedly tied to an individual’s positivity toward all types of discretionary and recreational spending, including golf.

As you would expect, golf course operators have benefitted most directly from the jump in rounds played. PerformanceTrak reported that median golf fee revenues were up 6.6% at member facilities through December 2012. However, given that “all golf is local,” individual facility performance is driven largely by the nature of local competition, weather, and economic/socio-demographic factors.

Competition certainly remains fierce in many markets, and the battle for market share is illuminated by the following statistic:  the national average for rounds-per-18 holes – approximately 32,000 – is more than 20% lower than it was prior to the start of the building boom in the late 1980s. Despite positive trends, golf remains a “buyer’s market.”

Featured Report
Golf Course Transactions Remain Highly Active – What are Investors’ & Lenders’ Transaction Drivers & Expectations?
While new golf facility openings are few, golf course transaction activity has been vigorous over the last six years. From publicly available sources, NGF has tracked nearly 1,300 golf facility transactions since the beginning of 2007, and this number is almost certainly understating actual sales.
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