Golf has thrived in Arizona during the pandemic.
With the Waste Management Open taking place next week at TPC Scottsdale, it’s good to see the business of golf growing in State 48 over the last 10 months.
“We were hoping to stay open until Governor Ducey deemed golf an essential activity,” said Brady Wilson, the operator of Southern Dunes in Maricopa. “Sometime in May, we started to see the uptick in people being comfortable to come back to the golf course. For most of us in the public side, April is our largest group month, so losing all the groups was a huge hit.”
May started the popularity of golf. I went out two to three days per week to take advantage of the low rates and empty courses.
I took friends and clients out to work on their mental health. Most thanked me for the invite and getting out of “Zoom World” where they were looking into a camera for six to eight hours per day.
In the case of Southern Dunes, there were 4,378 rounds from June 2020 to December 2020, and for the year, the course finished up at 40,061 rounds played. A 3.5 percent increase year-to-year. Wilson’s view on the numbers:
“I think there is a new found love for golf as people see it now as a healthy and safe activity more than just a game, and certainly there are new golfers to the sport and the occasional golfer probably plays more now. It is very similar to the Tiger boom in the late 90s…which was a short-lived influx of new golfers that slowly drifted away from the game. I think this time can be different, but you also have to remember that for the most part of this year, there hasn’t been any competition for the time and money that it takes to play golf. I think most people’s golf budget comes out of the entertainment funds and are usually competing with sporting events, movies theaters, concerts, youth sports, etc.”
Wilson isn’t sure what to make out of the numbers long-term. For now, he’s just continuing to put the best product out on the course for consumers.
“Golf hasn’t had any real competition for almost year now, and as those activities become available again, certainly we will see some impact to golf,” he said. “Our job as golf professionals and as an industry is to try and keep golfers playing and prevent golfers from leaving the sport.”