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NGF’s New Golf Industry Report to be Released in May

The NGF’s new Golf Industry Report will compile all of golf’s most notable data in a single report.

The National Golf Foundation’s new Golf Industry Report – a comprehensive state-of-the-industry overview – is scheduled for a May 2 release at the NGF’s annual Golf Business Symposium.

The report, which includes comprehensive NGF research on golf participation and engagement, was originally set for mid-March publication. It has been pushed back about six weeks because of delays in certain participation methodology and a desire to have the most complete figures available for 2017.

The new GIR will compile all of golf’s most notable data in a single report, intending to provide the most holistic view of the business of golf to the game’s stakeholders, the media and the public.

The NGF for 81 years has been the leading independent source of golf industry metrics and in the past has released facility supply data early in the year, followed by its findings on golf participation sometime around mid-year.

After this year, the plan is to release the Golf Industry Report in March, with the NGF’s annual Symposium adjusting its schedule accordingly. This year’s May release is an outlier as new methodologies are combined with research that has traditionally been used in the past.

“We’re excited to present a single state-of-the-industry report, encompassing golf’s key metrics, on behalf of our members and the industry we serve,” NGF President Joe Beditz said. “This information is enhanced and driven by a significant increase in our investment in consumer research.”

How many people play golf is a key element of the Golf Industry Report and the NGF last year began a new proprietary study of golf participation. In addition to factoring in research from the Physical Activity Council (PAC), which is conducted twice a year, NGF on a monthly basis started compiling golf-specific participation data from a nationally representative sample.

These independent surveys complement the PAC studies by offering more depth to explore different aspects of participation, including the perceptions of golfers and non-golfers alike.  In addition, the monthly frequency provides better recall from respondents on measures such as spending, rounds-played and media consumption.

After this year, there will be an increased emphasis on the NGF’s investment in consumer research and less reliance on PAC data.

Participation and engagement topics covered in the Golf Industry Report will include on-course (green grass) and off-course (Topgolf, simulator and range) participation, rounds-played, customer segments such as beginners, juniors, Millennials and committed golfers, and research on latent demand (the interest in playing golf among non-golfers).

There will also be details on golf course openings and closings in the U.S., the net change in facility supply, courses in planning and under construction, conversions, renovations, and trends in third-party management.

Other topics in the GIR include:

  • Golf retail supply: the number of individual doors and the estimated square footage of all off-course dedicated golf retail.
  • Golf equipment sales: Club and ball shipment data.
  • Turf maintenance equipment sales
  • Golf’s reach/TV ratings and media presence
  • Economic indicators

The consolidated release of key industry metrics in the new Golf  Industry Report will help those inside and outside the industry better assess the sport from a variety of angles rather than making assumptions based on the number of golfers and how many golf courses closed in a given year.

“2018 will be the beginning of a new era for golf metrics — one in which we will review all aspects of growth measurements at one time, and in one location,” LPGA Commisioner Mike Whan said. “For too many years we tended to make broad-scale decisions and assessments of our sport based solely on overall participation and golf course numbers. Finally, we can assess our sport from numerous angles, with golf-specific detail, and discuss — as an industry — how these indicators impact our future efforts.”

Erik Matuszewski
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