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March 2021 Update

Dear Friend,

Turning our clocks forward means only one thing – spring is upon us. What a difference a year makes, 62M Americans have received one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and 33M are fully vaccinated. Knowing the U.S. is on pace to vaccinate 100M by the end of April, pent up demand for social and recreational activities will abound, and below are a few thoughts that might prove useful as you finalize 2021’s game plan.

March Madness

The annual tournament between the nation’s top 64 basketball teams begins this week, a welcomed return after last year’s COVID cancellation. It is estimated that nearly 70 million brackets are filled out each year all with hopes of picking the perfect bracket. There is no evidence that a perfect bracket has ever been submitted, in fact the longest a perfect bracket has ever lasted is 49 games (one game into the Sweet 16). This is less shocking once you consider that there are 9.2 quadrillion (that’s 19 digits) possible brackets within a 64-team field.

With the continual rise of data analytics, Bracketology has become a complicated science. There are “Bracketologists” who have forged entire careers out of predicting winners and losers during March Madness. Similar to most, my bracket is steeped in data and analytics comprised of my “gut” feeling or preferred jersey color. Ironically, I shared with many golf course owners last week about the importance of data and avoiding “gut” pricing decisions – in case you missed it click here.

Opening up

Texas and Mississippi no longer require masks, many New England states have softened their stance on mandatory quarantine, and the roll-out of vaccinations provides a much anticipated first step toward normalcy. To this end, there is palpable pent-up demand to socialize and recreate which means golf will see increased competition for free time. Will the retention of lapsed golfers from prior years as well as the return of tournaments, weddings, and events offset an anticipated decrease in participation as the golf boom tempers? It remains to be seen; however, I suggest doubling down on programming and creating a “revenue playbook” for this season in the event 2020 tailwinds subside. Joe Beditz, President of the NGF, recently shared the following breakdown of new golfers in 2020:

  • Youth (+ 630,000)
  • Beginners (+ 570,000)
  • Women (+ 450,000)
  • Non-Caucasians (+ 320,000)

What programs in your revenue playbook attract and retain the lapsed golfer and those new to the game?

Golf For Everyone

Indigo Golf continues to invest in Indigo Futures, our programs designed to grow the game and ensure that those that might want “in” have the opportunity. It is estimated 6M new or lapsed golfers played in 2020, junior rounds were up 30% and beginner participation was up 20%. Indigo is running a five-part series led by our National Director of Instruction on how to grow and retain new golfers. Highlights include:

  • Programming for growth & retention
  • Running successful summer camps
  • Women’s programs
  • Junior golf programs
  • Technology & teaching landscape

I wish everyone much success in 2021. If any of this resonates or you wish to compare best practices and initiatives to implement, feel free to contact us as each situation is unique. We look forward to our next conversation.

All the best,

Mike

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About the Author
With 30 years’ experience in golf, Mike oversees Indigo Golf Partners growth plans and specific lease, acquisition, consulting and third-party management opportunities. He enjoys an invaluable talent of dissecting ways golf courses, country clubs and resorts can create significant new revenue and save expenses without compromise to quality. Previously, Mike managed the company’s vast southeast portfolio. A PGA member, he is a graduate of Mississippi State University, an avid cyclist and diehard college football fan.