Golf was one of the sports that saw a resurgence during Covid-19 as people sought out amply spaced outdoor activities. To get a broad feel for golf course traffic, we looked at over 2 dozen golf courses, such as Congressional Country Club, Pebble Beach, and Riviera Country Club, that have hosted the PGA Championship in the last 60 years. The chart below that covers Jan 2019-Jan 2023 indicates that, except for a brief dip in April/May 2020, visitation to these golf courses has proven rather resilient.
In comparing Yo3Y metrics of 2019 vs 2022, pre-COVID foot traffic was generally higher, with the exception of the months of July and September 2022.
We see quite a large Yo2Y difference between April/May 2020 and April/May 2022, due to the closure of retail, restaurants, and even outdoor recreation in April/May 2020 as scientists were still trying to figure out how the virus was spread. By June 2020, with the OK to engage in outdoor sports, particularly those with a lot of distance between them, we saw golf and tennis jump in popularity as cooped-up populations eagerly embraced being outdoors again.
Turning our attention now to how top golf courses that have hosted PGA tournaments are performing relative to last year reveals that PGA National Resort & Spa is one of the more popular golf courses. Spikes in foot traffic come along with hosting competitions, such as the Honda Classic, which took place from Feb 24-27, 2022.
Foot traffic at Congressional Country Club was up considerably YoY in Q1 2022, with a slight dip in late summer and fall, but is on the upswing for Q4 2022. As mentioned above, PGA National Resort & Spa got a huge boost in February 2022 from hosting the Honda Classic. Bethpage State Park Golf Course is showing steady improvement over last year as well. Atlanta Athletic Club was down the first half of 2022, but has had YoY increases in Q4 2022. Tanglewood Golf Club was also down the first half of 2022, but has seen a YoY increase in Jan 2023.
Playing golf at some of the private clubs definitely requires some heavy spending, so it’s no surprise that the median HHI at Congressional Country Club is an eye-popping $205K.