The global pandemic has affected sports, at all levels, in many ways over the past year and a half, but one recreational sport in particular has been able to thrive. And not only has golf seen a boom, the courses have also seen a boom throughout the first half of 2021.
This is especially true in Wisconsin.
According to the National Golf Foundation’s latest report on rounds played, the state is up 30.4% in rounds played through June, beating the national average of a 22.8% increase.
Wisconsin saw a 6.9% increase in the number of rounds played in June 2021 compared to June of last year.
The increase in the total number of rounds played from 2020 was predictable as classes closed at the start of the pandemic last spring, but the number of rounds played showed that those who first chose the sport times in 2020 or were already recreational players did not abandon it as other recreational activities reopened.
“Just with the way golf seemed to be so popular, there was very little reason to believe we weren’t going to start where we left off,” said Chet Hendrickson, manager of Milwaukee County Golf Services. Parks and PGA Professional.
“In 2020, we just came back, shattering our revenue target of almost $ 2 million just for golf. We have progressed by almost 32% against our objectives during the year. We had a budget to earn $ 6.25 (million), we made $ 8.22 (million).
And despite the fact that none of the course restaurants opened in 2020 and only beverage and snack carts were available, the dealership department almost hit its target (down 2.7%) “without ever lighting a grill,” said Hendrickson.
Even the state’s ‘destination’ golf facilities, which did not have their regular travelers coming on stay and play packages due to COVID-19 restrictions, say they have seen an increase in play anyway. over the past two summers, however, they are privately owned and do not disclose exact figures.
Whistling Straits, host of the Ryder Cup in September, and Kohler Co.’s other courses have also rebounded.
“Golf across the country has been performing well and we have very limited tee times or packages available for the remainder of 2021,” said Dirk Willis, vice president, Global Golf, Retail and Landscape, Kohler Co.
“Customers are also booking at a strong pace for 2022 and we are still taking reservations for all of our packages and golf courses next year. Hosting the Ryder Cup is a special opportunity for us and it further shows the world that Kohler is a spectacular golf destination, and that Wisconsin is a wonderful place to visit and explore.
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John Morrissett, competition director at Erin Hills, which hosted the 2017 US Open, said they had had a “jump” in demand to the point that 2022 bookings got off to a good start.
Sand Valley Golf Resort in Nekoosa was barely entering its third season when the pandemic hit, but PGA professional and communications director Brandon Carter said the resort has enough games not just in 2020 but 2021. that he opened more accommodations, created a larger outdoor dining area, and brought in a food truck. The resort is also continuing its plan to open the Lido route in 2023.
Hendrickson said the increase in gambling during the 2020 pandemic and through 2021 is similar to what gambling experienced at the turn of the century when Tiger Woods made gambling more popular among a larger group of people – and with their follow-up to the county’s “beginners” course rounds, the boom continued.
“Except we were going to have six (more) weeks,” Hendrickson said. “We are in an exceptionally good position. We are up 70% from last year.