GRAND FORKS – The Lincoln and King’s Walk golf courses have seen an increase in the number of people playing rounds and getting memberships over the past few years.
Jill Nelson, director of operations and community relations for the Grand Forks Park District, said the peak in people playing golf was seen early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Because of the social nature of a game of golf and the open environment of a golf course, many people have been drawn to the sport,” Nelson said. “While some of our other Park District programs and facilities had to close or change dramatically during the summer of 2020 due to the pandemic, our golf courses have seen an increase in activity.”
The increase in the number of people playing golf is part of a national trend, as seen by the golf industry, “a resurgence of new golfers and young golfers across the country,” Nelson said.
In Grand Forks, numbers have held steady through 2021, according to Dan Tannahill, a PGA golf professional who manages King’s Walk and Lincoln golf courses. Between the two golf courses, just over 50,000 rounds were played and over 500 subscriptions were sold last year.
Tannahill said there has been a 10% increase in rounds over the past two seasons.
Interest in golf has attracted 20 to 39 year olds, who Tannahill says “really took to the game”.
Along with golf becoming more popular among younger age groups, Tannahill said the increase in golfers since the pandemic has also been attributed to people staying closer to home and spending more time outdoors.
Tannahill said it is difficult to determine whether the numbers will remain high through the summer months this year as the golf season got off to a slow start with wet and cold weather.
“We’ve also had incredible golfing weather in 2020 and 2021,” Tannahill said. “Weather plays an important role in the evolution of our year-end figures.”
Nelson said with warmer weather in 2020 and 2021, golf courses were able to open earlier which ultimately allowed more people to play.