As the PGA Tour’s Charles Schwab Challenge teed off yesterday in Texas, golfers across the country have already been hitting the links hard. The number of scores posted to the U.S. Golf Association in May jumped 22% year-over-year, indicating a mass demand following an April when many of the nation’s courses were closed because of COVID-19.
That’s leading to hope from the $84 billion golf industry that the sport is attracting new golfers as a result, which would be much needed. Participation in golf the past six years has remained steady with 24 million U.S. golfers, but that is down from a 2003 peak of 30.6 million. With courses open and golf among the first sports back in action, it could add to the newfound fervor. Fantasy sports site Monkey Knife Fight recently cited a 181% increase in participation in its golf contests and a 53% increase in intent to watch golf when it returned as a reason it’s bullish on sports in the second half of 2020.