Course renovation continues to be the facility enhancement most desired by golfers at both public and private courses, according to golf course superintendents and general managers. That is just one result of the third “Golf Facility Market Trend Watch” report, commissioned by the American Society of Golf Course Architects and conducted by Sports & Leisure Research Group. Results were publicly released at the 2020 PGA Show and Golf Industry Show, both held in Orlando.
The online study, conducted and analyzed in late 2019, was distributed to more than 40,000 people, including ASGCA members, and subscribers of By Design and Golf Course Industry magazines. Respondents included hundreds of golf course architects, superintendents, general managers, facility owners/operators, golf professionals and industry leaders.
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“Golf facilities where investment has been made in recent years seem to be experiencing profitable results and a return on that investment,” said Jon Last, SLRG founder and president. “It is interesting to note the continued increase in general managers thinking their golfers would welcome enhanced short game areas and practice ranges; it’s a full 20-point increase over two years.”
For the third consecutive year, more than 90 percent of superintendents and course operators agree that condition of the greens and overall golf course conditions hold the most value for players. In fact, importance of green conditions was cited by 98 percent of respondents.
The study illustrates what ASGCA members are experiencing in the field, that the recent growth in master planning projects, short-game area development and bunker renovations continues.
The magnitude of concerns among club operators at both public and private facilities is down significantly in this survey. All continue to monitor maintenance costs, other leisure time options for customers, competition from other golf facilities and more, but the data shows a more measured outlook of the challenges these topics present. None of these items were noted by more than 50 percent of respondents as, “issues that can impact the sustainability and financial health of your golf facility.”