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Apr OtR: Utilization tells more about industry direction than rounds

Volume 21 Issue 04

Why Utilization is Better Industry Bellwether vs. Rounds

Fourth quarter of '21 and first quarter of '22 are providing a meaningful education and textbook support for my (and Stuart's) above assertion. While we're trying to measure the impact and speed of consumers returning to more pre-COVID activities and what that portends for golf, Mother Nature is dragging us on a monthly seesaw pattern of double-digit favorability and unfavorability just to screw up our crystal ball and projections. This perfect storm of transitioning demand and weather variability makes the perfect case (and we'll provide the illustration across the last 15 months) for why Utilization Rate and its Point Change are the primary barometers for our attention.  

  • Q4 '21 rounds were off 8% and Q1 '22 rounds were off 7% but, in Utilization, they represented two very different pictures (Q4 down double-digits, Q1 flat)
  • Tracking Utilization and Point change over the last 15 months shows that we're slowly drifting back to reality (sub-70% levels we saw in H2 '20/H1 '21) but we're seeing support in Q1 that we may be able to hold 60% or better. This would be considerably better than our pre-COVID trading range of 52-55% over more than a decade
  • Utilization also allows us to move across different geographies (both markets and within markets, like Chicago has 5 unique weather stations and, periodically, divergent weather) as well as to aggregate the myriad local situations into key markets, weather-based regions and the national picture (handy for equity investors, national equipment providers, multi-course operators, PoS providers and general industry service providers (consultants, appraisers, brokers etc.)) 

For our subscribers, read on to embark on this month's quantitative and qualitative educational journey.   For our Executive Summary, non owner/operator readers, consider this an invitation to subscribe to the Pellucid Publications Membership for a modest investment of $495/yr (or you can now subscribe on the $45/mo payment plan). In addition to seeing the rest of the story for this issue and the next 11, you'll also get our definitive State of the Industry suite (55 slide PowerPoint presentation and access to the video presentation and color commentary from the Orlando gathering) as well as the monthly Nat'l/Reg'l/Mkt Weather Impact tracker.

For all our owner/operator readers out there, in addition to the above, you can see all your comparative, weather-adjusted KPIs in one place at the end of every month by joining our merry little band of GMRC subscribers. More information can be obtained here and we'd be happy to provide referrals from one or more of our satisfied participants if needed to make the decision.

For our Executive Summary readers you could get the full story of '21's amazing performance one of three ways:

  • Become a Pellucid Publications Member and get this issue and 10 more of Outside the Ropes, the State of the Industry deliverables suite (PowerPoint slides and access to the webinar presentation now, PDF commentary report in Feb.) and monthly Nat'l/Reg'l/Mkts weather impact and Utilization reports
  • Purchase the SoI and get the SoI deliverables suite described above
  • Subscribe to the Golf Market Research Center (facility owner/operators) which includes all of the following:
      • GMRC web portal tool access (unlimited, annual)
      • Market Profile (from our proprietary Golf Local Market Analyzer)
      • Monthly Trend report (monthly Rounds & % Utilization for any months '19-'21 for which you've entered rounds in the portal)
      • KPI Scorecard (7 measure, single page KPI results, any month and Year-to-Date (YtD) for which 3 simple facts (Rounds, Golf Revenue, Peak GF Rate) has been entered)
      • Cognilogic Weather Impact: Historical facility-specific Golf Playable Hours & Capacity Rounds, updated daily and accessible via web portal
      • Cognilogic Foresight: 60 day forecast of Capacity Rounds including comparison to prior year, the 10-year norm and select forecast facts (i.e. hi/lo temp, precipitation amount etc.), also updated daily and web-accessible
      • SoI deliverables suite
      • Outside the Ropes newsletter

As an additional option in '22, you can see that we've added a monthly auto-payment option to most all of our deliverables for '22.  Those who are cashflow conscious or constrained now have an option to join the world of Pellucid!

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