By Design – Issue 52, Spring 2021

30 GOLF FACILITY TRENDS A t the start of 2021, we released the latest Golf Facility Market Trend Watch report, the fourth iteration of the annual study we produce alongside the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA). The report is designed to help understand what people within the golf industry consider to be the most significant challenges, opportunities and issues in golf facility design and operations. The report is based on a survey of golf course architects, superintendents, general managers, facility owners/operators, golf professionals and industry leaders. One aspect of the 2021 report that makes it stand out from previous years is that the data was collected amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, we added some new questions to gauge what people working in the golf industry were feeling in terms of the pandemic’s impact. We have all seen and heard about the increased numbers of golfers taking to the course during the pandemic. In the summer issue of By Design , I read about entire tee sheets being booked up in seconds. These observations are reflected in our findings, with 85 percent of superintendents identifying a surge in play as one of the most notable aspects of 2020, a great contrast with the experiences of many other industries. Sixty-six percent also highlighted a meaningful increase in the number of new players at their facility, with a similar proportion reporting that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a positive effect on operations. Around half of owners/operators have said that this increased play has created additional stress on their course maintenance programs during 2020. From their perspective, this has had little impact on timescales for capital projects, but 56 percent of golf course architects say they have seen delays in decision-making on projects to improve the golf course. Despite this, the volume of renovation business over the past Golf industry remains resilient Jon Last of Sports & Leisure Research Group tells us about the factors that are driving decision-making at golf facilities. Jon Last Jon Last is the founder and president of Sports & Leisure Research Group, a full-service marketing and research consultancy.