At this time last year, there really wasn’t a lot of talk about a turnaround in the golf industry. Rounds were still down, etc.
Yet, here we are in early September and while I’m not saying the turnaround has really set in, I do believe this fall could be the start of it.
Industry people who I’ve talked to are thinking that maybe we’re starting to turn a corner. They’re not up 30 per cent, but it seems as if their summers were good, weather was good and participation rates were good.
People seem cautiously optimistic for next year and I’ve heard people say that 2013 could be the start of an upswing. Is it going to go back to the glory days? Time will tell. We don’t really know.
Having said that, it seems that a lot of very good operators think there are signs that the golf business is on a rebound and I think there are a few reasons for that.
This year, we got off to a great start thanks to the weather. A lot of golf courses opened in March in Southern Ontario and the weather was good in April, so the courses were in good shape.
People got into the habit of playing golf early in the year when there were few rainouts or even forecasts for rain on weekends. When the weather is bad, people seem to find other things to do and they don’t get into the habit of playing until later in the year, but that wasn’t the case in 2012.
Secondly, I think people are looking at the economy differently these days. Can we call it the new economy?
Every day, you hear about the Euro zone. One day, it will be negative. The next day, it will be positive and it will go back and forth.
I think people are looking at this roller-coaster and are saying, `It is what it is,’ and are just saying we have to live our lives and carry on, instead of allowing economic news to dictate how they live their lives.
As a result, they’re trying to keep their lives normal and for many of them, that includes golf.
An upswing isn’t a sure thing, but you can really sense a cautious optimism out there.