Golf Datatech, LLC, has unveiled its 2020 National Golf Performance Report which shows that 2020 saw rounds played increase by 13.9% and equipment sales by 10.1% over 2019.
According to the report, the 13.9% increase in rounds is the largest total year increase since Golf Datatech began collecting and projecting rounds played in 1998 – topping the previous largest gain of 5.7% in 2012.
It is believed that the year-over-year surge in rounds and retail sales is primarily a result of golf being positioned as an ideal socially distanced activity during a pandemic.
Speaking on the surge in rounds played, John Krzynowek, Partner, Golf Datatech stated
“While the global pandemic wreaked havoc on many segments of our economy, the golf industry experienced a significant boost in rounds played and equipment sales. On the equipment side, sales increased by low single digits in both 2018 and 2019, but the double-digit gains in 2020 can only be attributed to the pandemic and golf being a respite for so many.”
It was also a record-breaking year for retail equipment sales, with 2020’s 10.1% improvement in retail sales bettering the previous all-time high percentage gain of 10.0% in 2005.
2020 spending also reached near-record levels, with overall golf equipment sales eclipsing the $2.81 billion mark, making it the third-highest annual total of all-time, trailing behind only 2008 ($2.91 billion) and 2007 ($2.87 billion).
However, it was a challenging year for on-course golf shops, with apparel sales dropping by 14.2% – with the Covid-19 restrictions playing a massive role in the drop in action.
Additionally, a lack of international travel and lockdowns during the critical spring season in warm weather markets had a detrimental impact on many resorts, which sell a significant amount of logoed golf apparel.
But, per the report, while on-course sales declined, apparel sales at off-course specialty outlets, particularly those with a strong online presence, enjoyed significant growth in 2020.
Why Justin Thomas ‘doesn’t really like’ that rangefinders will be used at PGA Championship
For the first time, the PGA Championship will allow players to use rangefinders during tournament play this year, but it’s not a prospect Justin Thomas is excited about.
Speaking ahead of this week’s Wells Fargo, Thomas revealed that he’s unlikely to use one, stating that he doesn’t “really like them” and believes that the technology takes away the importance of caddies.
“I think it takes away an advantage of having a good caddie that maybe goes out there and does the work beforehand as opposed to someone, especially now between the yardage books, the greens books and range finders, you technically don’t even really need to see the place or play a practice round. You can go out there and know exactly what the green does, you know exactly what certain things are on certain angles because you can just shoot it with the range finder.”
PGA of America president Jim Richerson stated earlier this year that he expects the use of rangefinders to improve the pace of play at the event. However, JT doesn’t see that being the case at Kiawah Island later this month.
“I certainly don’t think it’s going to speed pace of play up at all unless you have a scenario where you do hit it on another hole or some kind of crazy angle where it would take you a long time to get a yardage. At the end of the day, Kiawah Island isn’t some kind of course where the greens are going to be really soft and you just see pin, hit pin. It’s going to be, okay, I have 193 hole, we have 174 front, I need to probably land this probably 180 to 182, a little wind off this way.”
The PGA Championship begins on May 20 from Kiawah Island.
Rickie Fowler shares his thoughts on ‘interesting’ Super Golf League
While Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas have ruled themselves out of joining a Saudi backed Super Golf League, others have had their interest piqued and are waiting to hear more details on the proposals.
Phil Mickelson has said that he is intrigued by the idea, and now Rickie Fowler has revealed his interest in the potential breakaway Super Golf League.
“It’s definitely interesting. I think there’s a lot that needs to happen for it to even move forward of any sort, and at the same time I think competition can be a good thing.
I do think that the PGA Tour is the premier place to be playing against the best players in the world. Could it get better? I’m sure this wouldn’t be coming up if someone didn’t think that there were ways that certain things could be better.”
Though PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has threatened that any players committing to a breakaway tour could face expulsion from the PGA Tour, it hasn’t stopped players voicing their interest in the SGL. For Rickie, he’s happy to wait and see what develops.
“For a super golfer league of some sort to move forward, it would definitely need at least a handful of guys to be going that direction, or committed or whatever it may be. I don’t know of anything like that right now.
I can’t say that I’m in, out or whatever. I still think the Tour is the best place to be. We’ll see what happens, but I’m happy where we are.”
Patrick Reed recounts meeting wife Justine after being ghosted by her sister
Patrick Reed and his wife Justine are one of the more prominent couples on the PGA Tour, with his wife previously caddying for her man on the tour.
But the story of how the two met may surprise you, with Reed recounting the interesting story in a recent Q&A with Golf Digest.
It all began with a date with Justine’s sister, which ended abruptly after Patrick found himself quickly ghosted (a personal relationship ended without communication or explanation).
“I was a freshman at the University of Georgia, and her younger sister, Kris, was at LSU. Kris came to visit, and we went on one date, and I texted her to confirm she’d made it back home safe. No response.
So I reached out to Justine on Facebook, who confirmed her sister was back and got frank with me about why it was probably not going to work out. So I start talking with Justine, who I discovered is this incredibly driven person who was pursuing dual degrees while working to become a nurse.
We kept talking as a couple of years went by; then we started dating. Best decision of my life.”
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All is well that ends well for Patrick and Justine, with the two being married since 2012.
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