2019 ASGCA study provides new/additional insight on business issues at golf facilities

High level of activity among architects continues, increased optimism among facility operators
and capital expenditures prove profitable

BROOKFIELD, Wis. – The facility enhancement most desired by golfers at both public and private courses is a course renovation, so say golf course superintendents and general managers. That is just one result of the “Golf Facility Market Trend Watch” report, commissioned by the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) and conducted by Sports & Leisure Research Group (SLRG). Results were publicly released at the 2019 PGA Show in Orlando, and Golf Industry Show in San Diego.


The online study, conducted and analyzed in fall 2018, was distributed to more than 40,000 people, including ASGCA members, and subscribers of By Design and Golf Course Industry magazines. Respondents included golf course architects, superintendents, general managers, facility owners/operators, golf professionals and industry leaders.


“There is more investment being made in golf facilities each year, and those facilities are seeing a return on that investment,” ASGCA President Jeff Blume said. “It is interesting to see that now 70 percent of general managers think their golfers would welcome the addition of forward tees; that’s a 30-point increase in just one year.”


“The golf business continues to evolve,” said Jon Last, SLRG founder and president. “This year’s data shows consistent responses in several key areas, but some views are changing, which is also worth noting.”


The study illustrates what ASGCA members are experiencing in the field, that the growth in master planning projects, bunker renovations and turf reduction is quite real.


In a series of questions covering everything from golf course length to the impact of American with Disabilities Act laws, superintendents were most in agreement that allocating 10-12 acres of land for a practice range is a worthwhile investment.

Club operators at both public and private facilities agree their biggest challenges are competition for customers’ leisure time, as well as maintenance costs. When those costs are broken down, labor costs are shown to have the most significant impact on a facility’s financial health.


ASGCA Background


Founded in 1946 by Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones and 12 other leading architects, the American Society of Golf Course Architects is a non-profit organization comprised of experienced golf course designers located throughout North America. ASGCA members are able to counsel in all aspects of golf course design and remodeling and comprise many of the great talents throughout the golf industry.


For more information about ASGCA, including a current list of members, visit http://www.asgca.org or call (262) 786-5960.


Sports & Leisure Research Group Background


For the past ten years, Sports & Leisure Research Group has played a pivotal role in providing marketing professionals with the most extensive customized research and consulting services available. The principals of the firm are each former national presidents of the U.S. Marketing Research Association (MRA), coupling an acute understanding of the sports, travel and leisure markets with a classical marketing research background approach to combine market insights with actionable strategies.


The firm’s expertise allows its clients to take a more creative and strategic approach to advertising research, brand optimization and ROI assessment, product development testing, target market analysis and sales support research. SLRG offers capabilities including focus groups, online surveys and one-on-one interviews.  SLRG clients include leading brands and retailers in the sporting goods industry, professional leagues and governing bodies, as well as global agencies brands and media that focus on and activate around professional sports.