Saturday, January 2, 2010
The major factor in most average golfer's games may be economic. It would be reasonable to expect that the current recession and elevated unemployment rates would reduce the number of rounds played. Higher end "private" clubs may suffer as a result of cost cutting measures in corporate America. With Wall Street bonuses being targeted, it may be tough for a CEO to justify to "club membership" in his expense projection. The PC police can be expected to have golf in their sights, using it as an example of an elitist and wasteful pursuit. This all without considering the millions of course workers and club pros that are a real part of our shaky economy. Still, things tend to work in cycles, golf certainly isn't a necessity to life, and I'd count on it surviving, albeit in a trimmed down form for a while.
Discounting private clubs, the muni is where most golf business tales place. Daily fee courses could head in either direction. A reasonably priced muni, with a sound marketing strategy, might very well excel in this climate. Many golfers, unwilling to put their games on hiatus, will be seeking lower cost alternatives to continue playing at the rate they've become accustomed. My local course, where I've been a member, had an outstanding 2009 as far as I could tell. With a $25.00 daily fee it presented a low cost option and usually appeared to be well attended. Where I am, in the Northeast, weather, due to the short season, is a larger factor in a course's success than any other one element. I don't see that changing any time soon. Undoubtedly certain areas of the country have been harder hit by the economy and the effects will be varied. You may be able to weather the storm with a golf course right now, but I'm not so sure I'd want to be opening one.
I see opportunity for you equipment junkies. Deep discounts on equipment have been and should continue to be available. January is a perfect time to grab deals on last year's gear with new models being introduced for spring. Retailers and etailers, on the back of a lousy 2009, are poised to discount deeply. Take advantage. It won't last forever. I love to compare the fire sale prices to the "original retail" and try to imagine being the pigeon that paid full price just a short while ago. A small percentage of us have enough money not to care, but we average golfers don't have that luxury.
Play golf this year. Adjust your games as required and find the opportunities that pop up based on a changed economy. When one door closes another opens.