April 10, 2015

March Golf Weather Impact: Up Strongly Nationally, Regional Results Vary

At the national level, March registered a meaningful uptick as Golf Playable Hours (GPH) registered up 24% vs. Year Ago (YA) at the national level. That result boosted the Year-to-Date (YtD) gain to +15% vs. YA. The YtD regional positive/negative breadth ratio swung to positive at 3:1 with 11 regions having favorable weather against 4 regions with unfavorable weather (5 regions fell in the neutral zone of +/- 2%, the remaining 25 regions are out-of-season). Looking at YtD weather impact performance by day-of-week, favorability swung to weekdays vs. weekends which will somewhat mute the rounds impact. Looking to the year-end forecast for GPH, the current call is basically flat vs. ’14 and now predicted to slightly lag the 10-yr average. The supporting figures for the 2015 full-year comparative GPH for Total US, the comparison to the 10-yr average and the day-of-week breakdowns are available to Geographic Weather Impact Analysis tracking purchasers or Pellucid Publications Members via the Client Login section at the Pellucid website (go to pellucidcorp.com for information or to subscribe; for information-seekers we’ll send you a sample of the ’14 1st half actual results to review).

Looking back at February rounds played as reported by Golf Datatech/NGF to calculate the facility % Utilization Rate (UR), the rounds demand decline (-3%) trailed the similarly down GPH (-5%) resulting in a gain in Utilization for the month (it actually was the weather!). For the YtD period however, the flat rounds performance trails positive GPH figures resulting in a decline in Utilization through February. The supporting figures are also contained in the Weather Impact Tracking report or Pellucid Publications Membership monthly update.

Jim Koppenhaver comments, “What’s interesting about the March pattern is that the national positive is the result of several key areas having strong favorability while other regions that “matter” have struggled weather-wise. This is a classic case and the reason why we developed the Weather Impact Analysis capability in that, while the news has been dominated by the lingering snow and cold in the north and northeast, none of that (yet) matters yet to us in golf. We have to keep our eye on the weather patterns in the places that are open and drive rounds in Q1. Without giving away the details (you’ll have to at least request a sample or order the reports for that), the 1st quarter has been benevolent to the Pacific NW while the SE seaboard hasn’t gotten any favors. In looking at the rounds demand results, we continue to see the industry’s persistent and nagging problem over the past several years; rounds demand generally follows but trails weather results. We don’t seem to dip as much when GPH goes down but we rarely or never match or exceed the upside either when weather is favorable. With only 3 months “played,” however, it’s more instructional at this point to look at the full year GPH forecast for guidance than to get euphoric or manic at this point. As the northern geographies come online in April, we’ll start to get a better picture of both weather and demand for this new season.”

A broader and more detailed scorecard of the monthly key industry metrics, including the Revenue and Rate figures, can be found in Pellucid’s free digital magazine, The Pellucid Perspective. To register to get the current and future editions, go to pellucidcorp.com/news/elist, fill in the information and you’ll be registered for the next edition on 4/15/15.

Intelligent, curious and courageous industry stakeholders wanting the detailed metrics and monthly updates on weather impact at the national, regional and market level as well as utilization and the full year forecast numbers have two subscription options:
• Subscribe to the Geographic Weather Impact Analysis Tracking service ($199, 12 reports annually) or
• Subscribe to the Pellucid Publications Membership (Outside the Ropes monthly newsletter, 2014 State of the Industry, 2013 Industry Golf Consumer Franchise Scorecard, Geographic Weather Impact Analysis tracking, 2014 Top 25 US Golf Markets reports, Golf Participant Base Projection analysis) for $495 annually.

You can order any of the above information services via Pellucid’s Online Store

Jim Koppenhaver, President, Pellucid Corp.