May will be the first "acid test" of the year of a golf month with significantly loosened alternate recreation restrictions so we'll wait to see how demand shifts but at least the weather wasn't working against us in most regions. Golf Playable Hours (GPH) were up modestly vs. Year-Ago (YA) as the national figure advanced 3% compared to May '20 (remember, Mother Nature doesn't know nor care about COVID). That erased the previous Year-to-Date (YtD) with GPH now registering flat through the end of May. Regional breadth also found its way back to neutral at 1:1 with 15 favorable regions vs. 20 unfavorables rounded out by 10 in the neutral zone (+/- 2%, all 45 regions now being "in season" based on Pellucid rules). 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 April, as published by Golf Datatech, were (expectedly) a huge "up" coming in at +81% for the month against the highest point of COVID lockdowns in '20. Comparing the April results to a '19 non-COVID baseline month provides some "reality ballast" to how good the month was as the '21 figure was "only" up 5% over the '19 figure. This does represent a significant trend slowdown vs. the Q1 '21 comps vs. '19 which were up 27%. Also not surprising, the April national figure was tilted towards Public (+93%) vs. Private (+47%). To the critical question of how much of the "up" was due to weather, recall that the GPH favorability for April reported last month was +9% so we clocked in at +39 pts for Utilization marking our 11th consecutive month of beating the weather, wow!
Jim Koppenhaver comments, "Despite all the positive, large magnitude numbers, the April results were similar to our expectations that we would sail over a record low year ago rounds number. We knew coming in that we also had a 9% weather "tailwind" which never hurts but it's clear that heightened demand for golf rounds continues. Not to be Debbie Downer, the comps to April '19 provide important context for our rounds momentum. As mentioned above, the change rate over the '19 baseline decreased significantly but was still an annualized growth rate of ~2.5% which isn't anything to sneeze at. The other important and encouraging number is that we're 31M rounds ahead of '20 at the national level YtD so that's Scott & Stuart's "cushion" to protect their bet that '21 will deliver parity rounds to '20. May will be a toss-up month (we may or may not beat the slightly elevated '20 figure) but June and beyond will start the give-back in comps and last the balance of the year in my crystal ball. The next couple of months will tell us whether I'll be buying the steak dinners or be the one eating for free come October (we'll know the year-end trajectory with some certainty by then)."
Let's talk for a minute about local level performance. The Golf Market Research Center (GMRC) pilot participants have been able to view all these calculations specific to their facility for the past 2 months now for free. The GMRC gives you visibility to your Market Profile and, after you enter your Rounds, Golf Revenue and Peak Season GF Rate by month, to immediately see your results through our comparative reports with integrated weather impact. So how do you "get in on the action"? Glad you asked...
, provide your facility(ies) name and address and ask for registration instructions. We'll get you authorized as the admin for that facility and send a User's Guide in 24-48 hours and you'll be set
- If you'd like more information you have two options:
- Watch the 18 minute GoToWebinar recording of the program overview and a demonstration of the portal and reports (fill in your name and email and it will open the video link; you're not signing up for anything)
- Review the 2-pg program overview (Download Here)
The Charter Member subscription period is 6/1-7/31 and the benefits from being in on the ground floor include:
- Future pricing "favored nation" status
- Annual license to Cognilogic (historical weather impact, facility-specific, web portal delivered, unlimited use, $180/yr if bought individually)
- Annual license to Cognilogic Foresight (60 day Capacity Rounds and weather variable forecast, facility-specific, also web portal delivered/unlimited use, $360/yr if bought individually)
- Participation in the GMRC revenue-rebate co-op program
Final cherry-on-top, the NGCOA recently announced that we're now part of their SmartBuy program so there's a member benefit for the GMRC annual subscription. The Charter Member train is leaving the station; after 8/1 you'll still be able to subscribe, you just won't get any of the benefits above (particularly the revenue rebate co-op program)!
You can order any of the above information services via Pellucid's Online Store.