Updated: Dec 29, 2021
Just as I was creating this blog about the surge of golf after the outbreak of COVID-19, Forbes released an article about another record increase in golf “play and purchases” in 2021. The coronavirus has caused a lot of uncertainty in people’s lives, but one thing has remained constant: the golf industry. Golf has risen in popularity at historic rates since the start of the pandemic because it is one of the few sports where you can still socialize with friends. The only other times the golf industry has seen this type of growth, was in 1997 when Tiger Woods started his career and in 2008 when Woods won the U.S. Open in epic fashion on a broken leg (golfdigest.com). There hasn’t been this much optimism surrounding the golf industry in years and there is no end in sight!
Golf’s popularity has risen among the younger population, millennials, and women since the start of the pandemic. The National Golf Foundation reported 24.8 million golfers in the U.S. in 2020, an increase of 500,000 and 2 percent over 2019. It had been the largest net increase in 17 years. New players numbered 6.2 million—the highest in history. Today’s Forbes article notes that the National Golf Foundation reported that the total number of rounds of golf played nationwide in 2021 will surpass last year’s totals by 4% to 5%! It went on to report that NGF President and CEO Joe Beditz, said that the total number of 2021 rounds will likely be 18% higher than the three-year, pre-pandemic average from 2017-2019. (Forbes.com) The combination of young and new players can help the golf industry sustain this growth for years to come. Women golfers are a part of this surge, making up nearly a quarter of all golfers with a count of some six million. That is the highest number over the last five years.” (golfdigest.com). The golf industry is going to continue to build on this momentum and plans on getting even more golfers involved come 2022, as pandemic restrictions ease.
Given the increase in play that golf courses will see, superintendents will need to keep on top of course maintenance. More fertilizer will need to be applied if superintendents want their courses to continue to look nice under stressful conditions. The last blog talked about the increasing fertilizer prices, which will impact the superintendents’ annual budget. This topic was frequently discussed at the 2021 NJ Turfgrass Expo in Atlantic City, NJ. ViTech’s concentrated products are well-positioned as superintendents continue to look for alternatives to high-cost fertilizer.