Faster, more entertaining golf brings record numbers into play – Die Welt

A recent study shows that 35% of newbies to golf during the pandemic era are women – with serious amateurs under the age of 18 making up a large proportion of them.
Photo credit: Delivered

London: More than 500 million rounds of golf were played in 2020 and the early returns from 2021 suggest this year will be even better. Preliminary data from the National Golf Foundation estimates the number of rounds played will be up to 5% more than last year – and nearly 20% more than the three-year average before the 2017, 2018 and 2019 pandemic.

The explanation for this continued popularity can be traced back to a few factors: the schedules remain more flexible than before the pandemic, the weather this year was good, and many of the new golfers from last year continued to play.

Notably, 35% of the newcomers are women. Across all junior golfers – serious amateurs under the age of 18 – girls now make up 30% of that crowd.

So it makes sense for equipment companies to sell more products too. At the end of the third quarter, Acushnet, the parent company of Titleist and Footjoy, had net sales of $ 522 million, an increase of 8% over the same period in 2020.

Callaway Golf, meanwhile, announced staggering net sales of $ 856 million for the third quarter, attributable to its $ 2.6 billion acquisition of entertainment complex titan Topgolf in March.

The company didn’t stop there. Smaller entertainment venues that use golf simulators like Five Iron Golf and X-Golf are growing; If you scroll deep enough into their websites, they’ll list the well-known Callaway script and chevron logo as partners. Bruin Capital has now invested $ 160 million in full swing simulators.

Beau Welling, who heads both Tiger Woods’ design department and his own company, says the idea of ​​golf as entertainment permeated the business. “Topgolf is the best golf has ever experienced,” he says. “They figured out how to get someone who has never picked up a golf club – and not be intimidated or embarrassed.”

Now, he says, every project he works on is inspired by Topgolf. “From activating golf courses with food, drinks and music to short courses and putting outdoors, everything revolves around one thing: making golf more accessible is fun and you don’t have to spend four to five hours doing it.”

South Street Partners’ Chris Randolph agrees and points out another important factor. “If you look at demographics from our development side, it’s the same. Who these golfers are is what drives that. ”In other words, the new communities that have embraced the game have expanded it too.

And as the number of golfers grow – along with the number of opportunities to get involved in golf – significant amounts of capital have been poured into this category. In November, TPG Capital and Symphony Ventures, the mutual fund founded by Rory McIlroy, made a strategic investment in Troon, the world’s largest golf and golf-related hospitality company, which owns and operates more than 620 locations worldwide.

Colin Morikawa (pictured), along with the likes of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson, uses drivers and woods from TaylorMade – one of the largest golf equipment manufacturers in the world.
Image source: AP

Here are a few other developments we’ve been following this year:

In October, we reported an increase in home sales in golf communities as people returned to these private homes and golf courses to seek active and safe local lifestyles. These numbers did not decrease at the end of the year. South Street Partners’ real estate collection is set to break all records, including that of Kiawah Island Real Estate Co., which expects sales of $ 1 billion in 2021 and closes 372 properties in the third quarter alone.

South Korean investment firm Centroid Partners spent $ 1.9 billion on TaylorMade this year, potentially ending a rotating property door for the company that makes some of the PGA Tour’s most popular drivers and woods. TaylorMade pros include Collin Morikowa, whose early career numbers mirror that of Tiger Woods, as well as Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson.

The Korea Herald reports that the investment firm’s purchase is aimed at enabling an IPO for the company, which has a market cap of $ 1.7 billion, which lags well behind Acushnet and Callaway, but which has a net profit margin much smaller than that of its main competitors.

Some great golf courses have opened, perhaps none more attractive than one in Ireland at the Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort. St. Patrick’s Links, designed by Tom Doak, debuted at number 55 in the world in Golf Magazine’s Top 100.

In the US, Andy Staples Match Course opened at PGA National in September in hopes of reviving an old concept: par is just a number. The course is designed to encourage golfers to play faster by playing in matches, based on the slogan “My 6 beats your 7”.

Others not to be missed include Payne’s Valley, Tiger Woods’ Best of a Course at Big Cedar Lodge Resort in the Missouri Ozarks, and Davis Love Design’s thoughtful renovation of Birdwood Golf Course, home to the University of Virginia men’s and women’s teams .

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