2019 ASGCA study provides new/additional insight on business issues at golf facilities

The current issue of ASGCA Insights sources recent SLRG research that speaks to a heightened golf facility interest in the addition of forward tees.

The facility enhancement most desired by golfers at both public and private courses is a course renovation, so say golf course superintendents and general managers. That is just one result of the “Golf Facility Market Trend Watch” report, commissioned by the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) and conducted by Sports & Leisure Research Group (SLRG). 

Results were publicly released at the 2019 PGA Show in Orlando, and Golf Industry Show in San Diego.

The online study, conducted and analyzed in fall 2018, was distributed to more than 40,000 people, including ASGCA members, and subscribers of By Design and Golf Course Industry magazines. Respondents included golf course architects, superintendents, general managers, facility owners/operators, golf professionals and industry leaders.

“There is more investment being made in golf facilities each year, and those facilities are seeing a return on that investment,” ASGCA President Jeff Blume said. “It is interesting to see that now 70 percent of general managers think their golfers would welcome the addition of forward tees; that’s a 30-point increase in just one year.”

“The golf business continues to evolve,” said Jon Last, SLRG founder and president. “This year’s data shows consistent responses in several key areas, but some views are changing, which is also worth noting.”

The study illustrates what ASGCA members are experiencing in the field, that the growth in master planning projects, bunker renovations and turf reduction is quite real.

In a series of questions covering everything from golf course length to the impact of American with Disabilities Act laws, superintendents were most in agreement that allocating 10-12 acres of land for a practice range is a worthwhile investment.

Club operators at both public and private facilities agree their biggest challenges are competition for customers’ leisure time, as well as maintenance costs. When those costs are broken down, labor costs are shown to have the most significant impact on a facility’s financial health.

The complete study can be seen here.