Played Rounds for August as published by Golf Datatech also struggled against last year's strong results registering -7% (but which is still 13% above Aug '19). According to Datatech, the Public sector "lost less" (-7%) vs. Private (-9%), much of which is likely to Private's strength in '20 so they have a tougher comp to beat. To the critical question of how much weather impacted our flat rounds result, recall that the previously-reported August GPH was -5%, so the slightly larger rounds decline yields a Utilization loss of 2 points pretty much following the July results.
In a rare feat for rounds projections, I was "calling" August -7.5% vs. '20 which was pretty dead on. My call for the months in the balance of the year is for continued and increasing erosion vs. the elevated '20 H2 results so we'll see if my prowess (luck) holds up. We usually see more variance in Golf Playable Hours in the shoulder season months of September-November, but we'll take the neutral result while acknowledging that flat national still has considerable ups and downs (which you know because you have the supporting regional results which ranged from +30% (So. FL) to -15% (OH Valley Central or Columbus area). Looking back to last month for Utilization, we saw the rounds decline along with the unfavorable weather so, despite COVID, declining GPH continues to exert gravitational pull on demand. The good news is that, for Year to Date Utilization across the 61 tracked markets, we're still showing very strong positive breadth with 44 markets up against only 3 markets down (Minneapolis, Sarasota and the state of NE) or a 14:1 positive breadth ratio. Due to the diligence of our Golf Market Research Center Charter Members, we've already seen the preview of the September results for rounds and revenue and the "preview" is that it's stronger than I had anticipated against last year's elevated base (and similar to the GPH results so I can pretty confidently predict flat Utilization for September).
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