Rounds of golf in U.S. in 2020 increased by as many as 75 million, according to golf industry reports, most of them in the back half of year as a result of pent-up demand following the post-COVID 19 lockdown. David Maher, CEO of Titleist and FootJoy parent The Acushnet Co., expects-played gains in the first half of this year, but anticipates a slowdown in the second half.
That’s not being negative – just pragmatic. After all, the golf industry throughout 2021 will be judged against the record-setting numbers (in participation and equipment sales) of 2020, which might not be apples-to-apples comparisons.
“But net-net, we like the trajectory and energy of the momentum that golfer participation engagement brings to the game,’’ Maher said. “I think, frankly, it would be unlikely that we maintain the clip or pace that we saw in the second half. Rounds were up 40 percent in the U.S. in the fourth quarter.
“Now again, I think we are going to be living in an environment that’s healthier in 2021, but we’re also trying to be realistic with how folks allocate their time and how life is going to change as we become a vaccinated country. And then, you apply that same logic around the world.’’