Sports | November 15, 2020 2:25 pm

Reports of Golf’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

The sport is thriving during the pandemic

Gold clubs
Gone golfing during the pandemic? You're not alone.
Sydney Rae/Unsplash

The need to socially distance has affected a host of sports as the world deals with COVID-19. On the largest scale, this has led to things like the postponement of the Olympics and the NBA’s bubble; the same principles and concerns, however, have also had a bearing on more recreational sports. But in the midst of everything that’s going on, one sport has endured with few disruptions: golf.

There are some very understandable reasons for this, including the fact that it’s very easy to socially distance when on a golf course. But until now, we may not have known just how the sport of golf was affected by the pandemic. A new article by Toby Howell at Morning Brew ventures into the numbers behind an unexpected pandemic-era golf boom.

Compared with September 2019, 25.5% more rounds of golf were played in September 2020. That’s one of several encouraging statistics Howell cites to quantify the rise in the sport’s popularity. Another one: retailer Callaway Golf had what Howell describes as “the best third quarter in the company’s 38-year history.”

Howell also cites data from the National Golf Foundation to the effect that the number of junior golfers is increasing — an encouraging number for those concerned about the sport’s future. And some golfers may be embracing a more physical approach to the game, as pushcarts have been in high demand for most of the year.

Besides the pragmatic reasons for golf’s success, there’s also the way it’s been in the spotlight for much of the year: the PGA tour was one of the first American sports to resume play. If someone’s watching golf, might they be more tempted to play golf? That’s one conclusion you could draw from this data, which offers readers plenty to ponder.