After February's national weather "trainwreck", March bounced back as Golf Playable Hours (GPH) advanced 1% compared to the same month Year-Ago (YA and that being a healthy '20 "base month"). That improved the Year-to-Date result which now rests at -9% for our opening quarter (down from -19% last month). The unfavorability continues to be spread over a broad swath of our in-season regions with YtD GPH breadth resting at 1:10 with 2 favorable regions (HI and Southeast Inland (Georgia & surrounds)) vs. 20 unfavorables rounded out by 5 in the neutral zone (+/- 2%, the remaining 18 regions being out-of-season). Subscribers to either the Pellucid Publications Membership or the Geographic Weather Impact report get the 45 regional breakdowns, the 61 markets figures, the day-of-week weather impact and the Year-End National GPH forecast figure as well as our full commentary on the results every month.
Played Rounds for February, as published by Golf Datatech, broke our 8-month winning streak registering -5% for the month reducing the YtD figure to +8%. Interestingly, the downward figure was entirely attributable to the Public segment (-8%) while Private continued its winning ways (+4%). The good news is that the decline in rounds was fractional compared to the weather carnage for the month which means that Utilization gained for the 9th consecutive month, +10 pts, registering 77% for the month!
Jim Koppenhaver comments, "I missed my February prediction that the month would still produce a rounds increase in light of significant weather headwinds. In January we saw a 17% decline in GPH swallowed up by a 21% increase in rounds but February showed us a different look with the 19% decline in GPH being met with a 5% decline in rounds so it appears that something is shifting in the demand dynamic. We'll watch March with interest in light of the basically flat weather to see if we return to our double-digit monthly rounds gains or if demand appears to be moderating back to weather. Starting in March the "comps" on the rounds side will start to act goofy in light of the baseline being "month 1" of the '20 serious COVID restrictions. We're expecting the Q2 rounds comps to be very favorable but followed by very challenging comparisons for the balance of the year due to elevated demand levels in '20 caused by the COVID restrictions. In the last Outside the Ropes we published our quarterly "calls" for the balance of the year. You can purchase a subscription here or you can request a free sample and get that issue by registering here. Looking across the market Utilization results for February, there are only 4 US markets showing declines: Palm Springs, Hawaii, Orlando & Hilton Head (but not Myrtle Beach, interesting and our Market-level report will tell you why); anyone see the pattern here?
All eyes are on the forecast and watching the rounds played numbers to see when (or if) there will be a slackening of demand. Speaking of the forecast, there are a couple ways you can peek into Pellucid's crystal ball:
- The '20 State of the Industry (SoI) has more details on the market breakdowns, the long-range trends and the '21 GPH forecast at the national level and 45 regions which can be purchased here
for more information
The "numbers-watching" business will again be both fun and interesting in '21 I predict and we're hopeful that the GMRC will give us more diverse and reliable optics. That will be up to the participation by owner/operators, MCOs and. to some extent, the PoS providers. I'm still holding to my prediction/bet that "maintaining half the gain of '20" will be a likely and good outcome which would make our rounds demand 2-year annualized growth rate ~5% which would be a sharp rebound from the -1% annualized decline figure from the last 10 year period. Only time will tell..."
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