Golf Business Showing Signs of Life

GOLF_HOLE_MARKERThe game of golf is back, in a business sense, for the first time in five years according to a recent Bloomberg report. Sales of golf clubs, golf balls and all other golf equipment grew 1.3 percent last year, which reversed a slide since 2007, said Tom Stine, co-founder of Golf Datatech LLC, which provides statistics on golf-related sales.

Taking advantage of their new equipment purchases, golfers have taken to the course lately in larger numbers with the number of rounds played on American golf courses climbing for four straight months through February. The mild winter weather throughout much of the country has certainly helped, along with a drop in unemployment figures and a slowly strengthening economy.

Rounds played throughout the United States dropped over the past few years as unemployment rose to 10 percent in 2009. This year, the country’s unemployment rate has dropped to 8.3 percent in January and February, while more than 220,000 jobs were added per month in December, January and February.

Even private golf clubs are finally starting to see signs of recovery. In 2011, the largest owner and operator of private golf clubs, Dallas-based ClubCorp, sold its most memberships since 2005. The company, which operates golf courses in 26 states, bought four more courses last year and is looking for more opportunities in 2012.