Study: Golfer bullishness extends to economics, travel

Sports and Leisure Research Group’s current tracking of golfer attitudes shows a high level of optimism heading into year’s end

Editor’s note: This is the seventh in a series of articles that look at trends within the golf industry.

As Sports and Leisure Research Group continues to pulse consumer attitudes, its recent Back to Normal Barometer data have shown a growing angst about the continuing impact of the pandemic, the overall economy and the potential for social unrest as Election Day nears. This has translated into a cautious and suppressed appetite for discretionary activities such as travel and a generally depressed perspective on the near-term future.

Of course, research previously reported by Sports and Leisure Research Group consistently has corroborated golfer participation data to quantify a surge in play that filled tee sheets throughout the summer and continues to do so through the initial weeks of fall. Delving deeper into the underlying attitudes and motivations of golfers, the chart below provides further illustration of golfer optimism, beyond the game itself.

Sports and Leisure Research Group — BTN Barometer (7)

Fewer than four in 10 Americans strongly believe that the unemployment picture will turn around before year’s end, yet nearly half of golfers are optimistic. Similarly, we see the same 39 percent of Americans express optimism about their prospects for a comfortable retirement. In contrast, a majority of golfers are looking forward to retirement. Even in the hard-hit leisure-travel space, where overall intent and anticipated spending remain muted, golfers significantly out-index the population at large.

A number of years ago, Sports and Leisure Research Group was commissioned to explore golfers’ process of planning and paying for vacations relative to that of affluent Americans, overall. One of the most salient conclusions of this study was that golfers outspent non-golfing affluents across all components of travel, excluding golf-specific spending. This observation is even more salient today.