Golf Weather Impact: August GPH dips, July Utilization soars
June Golf Weather Impact: August GPH dips, July Utilization soars
August weather represented a slight dip as Golf Playable Hours (GPH) fell 2.1% compared to the same month Year-Ago (YA). That slightly negative result continued the erosion of Year-to-Date (YtD) favorability which now rests at +1%. Beneath that we saw good gains in the Great Lakes/Ohio Valley regions offset by large declines in the FL South, Desert West (Phoenix) and Gulf Coast regions. YtD regional GPH breadth swung to neutral (1:1) with 19 favorable regions outnumbering 13 unfavorables with 13 in the neutral zone (+/- 2%). Looking at weather impact performance by day-of-week for the YtD period, weekends moved back into the leadership position. If you'd like to have visibility to the day-of-week variances as well as the year-end GPH forecast you can subscribe here [https://www.pellucidcorp.com/purchase-reports/Weather-Services-c60126191] for either the Geographic Weather Impact report (for clients covering multiple geographies and markets) or Cognilogic (for individual facilities).
Played Rounds for July published by Golf Datatech posted a 2nd consecutive month of double-digit gain providing more support for the industry's anecdotal reports that we're getting a sizeable "COVID dividend/bounce". July rounds were +20% and that blows away the flat GPH results we had previously reported for the month. For the year that now puts us at a national level ahead of YA at +3% (the one "lookout" being the fact that it's comprised of Private being +11% and Public only +1%). The combination of flat weather and double-digit rounds improvement produced a 10 point Utilization gain, surging to ~63% for the month. That also carries the YtD Utilization comparison into (marginally) positive territory vs. YA
Jim Koppenhaver comments, "OK, even for us analytical folks "following the math" (apologies to Dr. Fauci), the V-shaped recovery for golf, at least in rounds played, can be officially confirmed. Two months of double-digit gains is a healthy bounce and, by our calculations, we have recovered all 20M of the Mar-May rounds lost to YA in the Jun-Jul period. As colleague Stuart Lindsay has pointed out previously though in published articles, there are two potential "flies in the ointment": 1) Given the losses in ancillary revenue (events/outings, F&B, Mar-May cart losses due to use/occupancy restrictions, pro shop etc.), his back-of-the envelope math suggests that we'll need an ~11% gain in revenue somewhere along the line to get dollars back to "even" and 2) Given the more tepid Public sector rounds results YtD (+1%) the path to +11% revenue offset is steeper while, for Private clubs, the rounds bounce doesn't translate as directly into revenue for them given the member dues structure which is fixed vs. variable. Given the relatively small window of peak season in the northern climes however, it was critical that we "made hay" in Jun/Jul vs. waiting for a backloaded bounce. One other thing which may provide an additional tailwind here in Sep/Oct is the fact that major college football is either taking a knee or swinging in the breeze. If we take out competition from college football in the Fall for much of the country and get any help from the weather (Aug isn't help at -2% but it's not a critical blow), we could see an extension of the COVID bounce well into Fall which we normally don't get. Anyone want to bet on Sep-Oct being double-digit rounds gains as well? We'll see...