In a year of lockdowns and social distancing, there were few activities remaining for the avid entertainment-junkie; movie theatres were closed, restaurants were take-out only, and recreational sports like basketball and volleyball were cancelled for the foreseeable future. When the first round of restrictions was lifted there was one activity left standing, deemed safe enough by Public Health to continue with little modification: golf.
The golfing industry boomed in 2020, showing an unprecedented 6.2% increase, up from a 42.2% fall during lockdown. Over 50 million rounds of golf were played in 2020—an impressive number considering the courses were closed for a good portion of the spring and summer. The only other year which saw similar growth in the sport was 1997—the year of professional golfer, Tiger Woods’ rise to fame.
Due to the increase in demand for golf tee times, the roughly 2300 Canadian courses were flooded with booking requests, with many potential players needing to wait between 5-7 days to select a tee time—and an even longer wait for a half-decent one. Other issues arose as a result of the popularity increase, mainly surrounding equipment rentals, causing yet another boom in the online retail purchase of golf clubs and other supplies.
Despite the stereotype that golf is a sport predominantly popular with an older generation, the numbers showed that of the newcomers to the season, 65% of them were between the ages of 18-34, showing that there may be a booming future for the somewhat outdated infrastructure.
Whether this increase in popularity will be long-standing is yet to be determined, though the numbers are looking good for the 2021 season so far. Canadian retailers and courses are looking forward to refreshing the sport for a younger demographic and continuing their popularity streak into the future.