Survey: Golfers getting back to normal at a faster clip

Findings from twice-monthly samplings since start of pandemic show golfers are ‘less likely to require additional assurances or a medical breakthrough’ to return to game

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

Twice a month since late March, Sports and Leisure Research Group has been pulsing consumer sentiment amid the COVID-19 pandemic through its Back to Normal Barometer.

In each survey wave, a representative U.S. population sample of more than 500 people is interviewed for behaviors and attitudes surrounding 16 different leisure activities and 13 sports. Through a series of algorithms, Sports and Leisure Research Group segments them into one of four buckets based on their comfort level toward resuming these activities:

Sports and Leisure Research Group — Slide 34

(Graph: Sports and Leisure Research Group)

Recently Active: Those who within the past month have actively participated in three or more of those activities that they engaged in during the prior year.

Ready to Go: Those who are willing to resume without any further assurances.

Assurance Seekers: Those hesitant to participate absent a combination of assurances from either local or national government or medical authorities.

Breakthroughs: Those who will remain on the sidelines until there is an available COVID-19 vaccine or proven medical protocol that mitigates the virus’ effects.

As the graphic shows, golfers are more apt to be in either the Recently Active or Ready to Go segments, and less likely to require additional assurances or a medical breakthrough than sports fans in general.

This is consistent with similar data that the research group have collected from the Back to Normal Barometer study, as well as prior tracking research conducted in the aftermath of both 9/11 and the 2008-09 financial downturn. The previous research showed golfers being more resilient than the broader population in re-engaging during times of crisis and uncertainty.

These attitudinal findings are supportive of other data that Sports and Leisure Research Group and others in the golf industry have released regarding the recent surge in golfer participation over the summer months. The data also show a similar phenomenon among a number of sub-populations, including more affluent Americans and those ages 35-44.