Reporting from SLRG’s annual Golf Facility Market Trendwatch study leads off the latest issue of ASGCA insights. This year’s release highlights continued market optimism as well as quantifies the magnitude of the labor challenges confronting golf course operations.
The upswing in all areas of the golf industry since June 2020 is impacting facility decision making, from architects leading Master Planning and course renovations to facility owners and operators adjusting to attract and maintain staff. Those are the top-line results of the latest “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 are being shared publicly for the first time at the 2022 PGA Show and 2022 GCSAA Conference & Trade Show.
The online study, conducted and analyzed in late 2021, was distributed to more than 35,000 people, including ASGCA members, and subscribers to “By Design” and “Golf Course Industry” magazines. Respondents included golf course architects, superintendents, general managers, facility owners/operators, golf professionals and industry leaders.
The complete Market Trend Watch results may be found at https://tinyurl.com/nmmw2f2r.
Architects busy, optimistic
“The impact COVID-19 has had on golf compared to other industries has been extraordinary,” said Jon Last, SLRG founder and president. “Last year’s Trend Watch indicated facilities displayed moderate enthusiasm in moving forward on capital projects, while this time more than twice as many respondents see facilities accelerating timetables for these improvements.”
More than 80 percent of ASGCA members have worked on a Master Planning project in the past two years, practice area improvements and green complex renovations are also prevalent projects. Architects have also never been more optimistic about expected renovation work. Nearly 90 percent expect their work volume to maintain current levels or grow in the next two years, with more than 50 percent anticipating a significant increase.
Labor pressures persist
This year, the Market Trend Watch also took a deeper dive into facility maintenance staffing. More than 80 percent of public and private facilities have raised the minimum hourly wage for staff members since 2020, with 42 percent of private clubs and 20 percent of public facilities now paying at least $15/hour. At the same time, two-thirds of facilities report significant drops in the number of applicants for job openings.