INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. and#8212; As the Incline Village General Improvement District begins compiling the newest business plan for its golf courses, a look at the latest statistics covering the business of golf indicate a nationwide decline in the recreational activity.
Data compiled by the National Golf Foundation, a Jupiter, Fla.-based golfing association which reports on the economy of golf, indicates the total amount of rounds played on courses in the United States fell by .6 percent from 2008 to 2009.
Rounds played on public courses remained essentially static, with only a .3 percent decrease from 2008 to 2009, while private courses suffered a 1.8 percent decrease over the same period.
California and Nevada bucked the national trend and saw the number of rounds played increase slightly from 2008 to 2009 by 2.1 percent and 2.5 percent respectively.
NGF circulated a newsletter in 2009 stating that despite more than 800 closures of golf courses nationwide between 2000-2009, golf course supply actually increased by more than 500 18-hole equivalent courses.
and#8220;Generally speaking, the closures were disproportionately 9-hole or and#8216;alternative' facilities with a sub-$40 greens fee,and#8221; the newsletter states. and#8220;On the other hand, the openings during the decade were disproportionately private facilities or public/daily fee courses (tied to real estate and resort developments) with a high price point.and#8221;
The newsletter goes on to state that not only has the supply of courses increased over the previous decade, but affordably-priced public courses have been replaced by facilities favoring the high-end of the market.
While the decrease in rounds can be described as minimal, golf course revenues are in a pattern of more drastic decline, according to another NGF study.
Revenue derived from green fees and golf carts at public/daily fee are down by 5.9 percent from 2008 to 2009. Revenue from merchandise at public courses witnessed the most severe downtown over the same period, falling by 11.3 percent.
Revenue from green fees and golf carts at municipal courses stayed flat from 2008 to 2009. However, revenue derived from merchandise did fall by 4.2 percent at municipal courses as well.
Finally, private courses saw revenue derived from membership dues decline by .8 percent from 2008 to 2009. Merchandise at private courses also witness sharp decline, falling by 11.6 percent over the same period.
Statistics covering the 2009-10 golf season from NGF have yet to be made public.