Latest NGF Numbers Show Rounds Played Slipped Amid Long Winter

Golf’s pandemic-induced participation boom was already fizzling before a long winter hastened the process, according to the latest rounds played report compiled by Golf Datatech and published by the National Golf Foundation. 

The “pandemic dividend,” as the report terms it, is now in its second year of sliding back to normal levels. Rounds played in April 2022 are down 13% from where they were a year prior and year-to-date rounds played figures have fallen about 10%. March saw a 14% dip from its 2021 levels. 

However, it’s important to note that even the most zealous players struggle to log a significant amount of rounds when Mother Nature won’t cooperate. Compared with the first four months of 2021, the same chunk of the 2022 calendar yielded 14% fewer “golf playable hours,” per data gathered by Pellucid Corp. that was used in the NGF report.

Even once the snow cleared in the Northeast and in similar climates throughout the U.S., unseasonably cool temperatures lingered into the early spring, steering golfers away from the course and into indoor simulators and their like.

Of course, the spike in participation brought on by social distancing measures and, generally speaking, a dramatic shift in our way of life in the spring of 2019 was always seen as unsustainable. And the influx of beginners who picked up clubs for the first time hasn’t necessarily been nurtured into a new generation of avid players.