By Jim Kass*
Business Golf: One Reason Rounds Are Down
Donald Trump isn’t the only Core golfer who makes deals on the golf course. Business golf has had a meaningful positive impact on businesses in many segments of the American economy… but especially on the golf economy. With two recessions since 2001, priorities have been re-aligned and business golf just seems much harder to pull off these days. NGF decided to conduct some research that would go beyond the personal experience and anecdotal evidence that business golf has been declining.
Overall, U.S. rounds volume is down nearly 2% year-to-date through October 2010 vs. the same period in 2009.
The last time rounds had such a steep decline was in 2002 when rounds were down 3.0% vs. 2001. Back then the decline was due in part to the aftermath of 9/11 plus the 2001 recession – both of which resulted in a contraction of business travel and entertainment budgets which often include golf.
Is business golf part of the reason for the 2010 decline?
To get an indication, we surveyed 400 Core golfers from our proprietary golfer panel.
We found that 24% of core golfers (those playing eight or more rounds a year) indicated they have a job that involves business golf (where they entertain customers or are entertained themselves). That projects to roughly 3.4 million golfers.
And of these business golfers, about half (51%) indicated that they are playing less business golf now vs. before the recession (pre-December 2007). Forty-three percent said they are playing about the same amount of business golf now, and only 6% said more now.
We further asked the golfers who said they are playing less business golf now, why they are playing less. About one-third said “It just doesn’t look right” and “I need to work more.” And about one in five said “I can’t get clients to accept invitations” and “There was a change in policy at my business.”
As with golf consumer spending in general, we believe that business golf will improve as overall consumer confidence improves. Then we can all get back to “business as usual” on the golf course.
Originally posted by JimKass
on 09 Dec 2010.
All contributors: JimKass
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