May 27, 2020

NGF COVID-19 Update – Golfer Anxiety About Return to Retail Lessens

Jupiter, FL – As the percentage of golf retail stores open to foot traffic continues to increase, a growing number of golfers indicate their concern for visiting physical store locations is subsiding, according to the National Golf Foundation’s latest industry-wide surveys.

Approximately 80% of off-course golf retail stores are open to customers, up from 61% two weeks ago. All but 4% of the 6.5 million square feet of total off-course golf specialty space had been closed to in-store traffic in early April, even as more than 40% of courses remained open for play.

The percentage of open pro shops remains at 66%, a byproduct of at least 10 states having government mandates in place that prevent facilities from allowing customers into pro shops and clubhouses. This group includes New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Illinois, which have more than 3,400 golf courses between them.

Meanwhile, only 8% of core golfers indicate they’re “very concerned” about shopping in golf retail stores or pro shops, with 60% now saying they’re not concerned about entering physical golf retail locations. This is the first notable change over the past month of consumer surveys and up from 52% a week ago. Core golfers also indicate their personal financial outlooks continue to improve, even if they’re not currently spending as they normally would.

The percentage of U.S. golf courses open for play has crept up to 97% after a seventh straight week of increases in the number of course reopenings.

“The good news, mostly anecdotal, is that there seems to be a surge in participation among beginning golfers and those who haven’t played in a while,” said NGF President and CEO Joe Beditz. “Course operators are telling us they are seeing lots of new faces, and retailers are saying they are moving an unusually large number of beginner (boxed) sets of clubs.”

For the latest data and insights, visit NGF’s special webpage dedicated to continuing research on the effects of the coronavirus on golf:

About the National Golf Foundation

The National Golf Foundation is a community of individuals and golf businesses committed to being the most well-informed advocates for the growth of the industry. With the world’s largest research team dedicated to golf, NGF provides members with the most accurate and objective insights on the game, while helping golf companies and organizations better understand their market and grow their businesses. The NGF is the only association for everyone in golf, and we advocate for growth by educating and connecting our members.

Erik Matuszewski
National Golf Foundation
Editorial Director
(609) 577-0652