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Friday, Jan 27, 2023
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The Number

Increase of L.A. golf rounds, first two months of the year The golf industry is not quite out of the economic rough it landed in eight years ago, but at least it’s approaching the green. Business people who meet clients for golf can take heart that the number of 18-hole rounds played in the L.A. market was up 1.5 percent in January and February compared to the same months last year, according to the PGA of America. While that’s an improvement, California had a 6.8 percent increase and the nation was up 3.5 percent in the same period. As for the green, the average price for a round in Los Angeles is $24.13, on par with the national average of $24, but $2 short of the state average, according to PGA data. Tom Addis, executive director of the Southern California PGA, noted that since 2008, the national average price has dropped by $8, and even as the economy has strengthened courses haven’t been able to raise their prices much. “When we got into the economic crunch, there was so much price reduction at a lot of these golf facilities they’ve had a difficult time recovering,” he said. One damper on the L.A. average is the dominance of public courses. While the region hosts prestigious private clubs, including the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks and the Braemar Country Club in Tarzana, fully 71 percent of the courses in the market are public with far lower prices. Even with green fees stuck in neutral and the number of rounds played gaining marginally, clubs can still make more money by selling auxiliary products. Nationally, the PGA reported revenue from merchandise sales and food and beverage increased 4.4 and 6.4 percent respectively year-to-date in February. And long term, the industry faces the question of how to appeal to the millennial generation of business people who have shown more interest in triathlons than tee times. “We talk about it all the time,” Addis said. “That’s our biggest challenge – to get the millennials to play.” – Mateo Melero

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