By Warren Ryan, MGA
EDINA, Minn. (Dec. 31, 2020) – On behalf of its allied golf associations and its member golf clubs across the state, the Minnesota Golf Association recently conducted a bench-marking facility rounds study to validate the increase in golf participation attributed to COVID-19 and restrictions on other forms of outdoor recreational activities in place for much of 2020.
Golf facilities in Minnesota reported that rounds were up an average of 29.7 percent.
The MGA surveyed 358 golf facilities around the state, with 89 facilities reporting rounds over the last three years in the following categories: municipal, (26.4 percent reporting); private, (79 percent); public daily fee, (22.2 percent); and resort, (40 percent).
“At the time of Governor Tim Walz’s initial Stay at Home order issued in March, we felt that playing golf satisfied all the concerns relative to social distancing and curbing the spread of the COVID virus,” said Tom Ryan, MGA executive director and COO, adding, “As it turned out, golf was one of the few sports or activities that all Minnesotans could safely participate in throughout the summer, and the findings reported here reflect that.”
Prior to the pandemic, from 2018 to 2019, Minnesota golf facilities saw a modest increase in golf rounds of 1.8 percent; this year, golf rounds surged by an average of 29.7 percent across all facility types.
Public daily-fee facilities saw, on average, 28,394 rounds in 2020 – 30.5 percent more rounds than were reported in 2019; municipal facilities, 32,589 rounds, a 29.2 percent increase; private clubs, 24,162 rounds, a 34.9 percent increase; and resort courses, 27,392 rounds, a 14.3 percent increase.
To put the local surge in perspective, golf rounds in the U.S. were up 13.1 percent, less than half the Minnesota overall average.†
“Playing golf checked all the boxes and met each and every social distancing protocol. It was outdoors, it was both a physically and mentally healthful activity, and it gave thousands of kids and their families something to do together,” explained Ryan.
† Golf Datatech's National Golf Rounds Played Report (November 2020).