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Web Exclusive - July 2015

Trends in Golf Facilities

A Look at Trends in Golf Facilities


Our State of the Industry Report has reached its ninth year, and in that time we have covered trends in many different types of facilities. In 2015, some 3.3 percent of more than 2,300 respondents said they were with a golf or country club. In this special web-exclusive story, we'll take a look, for the first time, at how things are shaping up in their facilities.

Unlike other facility types, which were typically more heavily weighted toward the Midwestern region, respondents from golf facilities are relatively spread out through the regions of the country. The largest number—26.7 percent—were located in the South Atlantic states. They were followed by the Northeast and Midwest; each of these regions was home to 21.3 percent of golf respondents. Another 16 percent of golf respondents were in the West, and the smallest percentage, 14.7 percent, were in the South Central region.

A majority of golf respondents were located in suburban communities. Some 63.6 percent reported from the suburbs. They were followed by those in rural communities, representing 24.7 percent of this cohort of respondents. Urban areas were home to the smallest number of golf respondents, with 11.7 percent of the response.

The types of organizations represented by golf respondents were also more spread out than for other facility types. Some 39 percent of golf respondents said they were with private, nonprofit organizations. Another 32.5 percent worked for private, for-profit organizations. Some 20.8 percent were with public organizations, and 7.8 percent said they were with an "other" type of organization.

On average, golf respondents said they manage 2.3 facilities. Unlike many other respondents, they were highly likely to report that they managed just a single facility. Some 76.6 percent of golf respondents said they manage only one facility.

Respondents from golf facilities were much less likely than others to report that they had formed partnerships with other organizations. While 88.5 percent of non-golf respondents had formed such partnerships, only 46.8 percent of golf respondents had done so. The most common partners for golf respondents include: local schools (26 percent of golf respondents had partnered with them); corporate or local businesses (22.1 percent); local government (18.2 percent); nonprofit organizations (18.2 percent); and colleges and universities (18.2 percent).

Golf respondents were less likely than others to cater to an all-ages audience. In fact, some 54.1 percent of golf respondents said that adults ages 18 to 64 were their primary audience, while 29.3 percent said their primary audience was all ages. Some 9.3 percent named seniors ages 65 and older as their primary audience.

From 2013 to 2014, 50 percent of golf respondents said the number of people using their facilities increased. Another 35.1 percent said there was no change in the number of people using their facilities in that time period, and 14.9 percent reported a decrease in usage. Looking forward, some 60 percent expect the number of people using their facilities to increase in 2015, and 59.1 percent expect an increase in 2016.

Revenues & Expenditures

Respondents from golf facilities were more likely than others to report that their revenues had decreased from 2013 to 2014. That said, only 25.3 percent of golf respondents reported a decrease, and 52 percent said revenues had increased in that time period. Looking forward, 65.3 percent of golf respondents expect revenues to increase in 2015, while 9.3 percent expect a decrease. And in 2016, 74.6 percent expect revenues to rise, while none are anticipating a drop in revenues in 2016.

On average, golf respondents reported their annual operating expenses for 2014 were $2,317,000. Looking ahead, they expect operating expenses to rise 5 percent from 2014 to 2016, to an average of $2,434,000.

Respondents from golf facilities were much more likely than others to report that they had taken actions to reduce their operating budgets over the past year. Some 93.5 percent of golf respondents said they had done so. The most common actions taken include: reducing staff (54.5 percent of golf respondents had taken this action); improving energy efficiency (53.2 percent); increasing fees (53.2 percent); reducing hours of operation (31.2 percent); and putting construction or renovation plans on hold (26 percent).

Golf Facilities

Golf respondents were less likely than others to report that they had construction plans over the next several years. Slightly less than half (49.4 percent) of golf respondents said they are planning construction. Some 11.7 percent are planning to build new facilities, 19.5 percent are planning additions and 39 percent are planning to renovate their existing facilities. On average, those with construction plans are planning to spend $2,933,000 on those project.

The most common features currently included as a part of golf respondents' facilities include: golf courses; locker rooms; outdoor aquatic facilities; Wi-Fi services; concession areas; classrooms and meeting rooms; outdoor sports courts, such as basketball or tennis courts; fitness centers; open spaces such as gardens; and exercise studio rooms.

Some 28.6 percent of golf respondents said they had plans to add additional features at their facilities over the next three years. Their most commonly planned additions include: fitness centers; splash play areas; exercise studio rooms; childcare centers; and playgrounds.

Programming

The most common programs currently found among golf respondents' facilities include:

  1. Sport training, such as tennis or golf lessons
  2. Holiday events and other special events
  3. Swimming programs
  4. Sports tournaments and races
  5. Active older adult programming
  6. Fitness programs'
  7. Aquatic exercise programs
  8. Day camps and summer camps
  9. Mind-body/balance programs such as yoga and tai chi
  10. Individual sports activities

Some 28.6 percent of golf respondents said they had plans to add additional types of programming at their facilities over the next several years. The most commonly planned programs include:

  1. Fitness programs
  2. Mind-body/balance programs
  3. Day camps and summer camps
  4. Teen programs
  5. Trips
  6. Environmental education
  7. Active older adult programming
  8. Nutrition and diet counseling
  9. Sport training
  10. Personal training
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