The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 7

SUPPLY/DEMAND

Golf Course Inventory Activity Accelerates:
Is COVID the Culprit?
By Jim Koppenhaver

F

or years I've wrestled with the challenge of tracking golf
course supply changes on two dimensions: 1) At the end
of the year, what was the open/close count and net change
and 2) During the year, could we keep up at least quarterly with
changes in supply? In 2019 I added to my "wish list" keeping
track of transactions where we don't change the net supply but
it provides insight into the buyer/seller ratio for the existing inventory and current liquidity. As has been my experience with
the golf industry, no relatively basic piece of information comes
easily or quickly. This year however with COVID it has placed
a premium on even directional knowledge in being able to do
comparative tracking on monthly closures as well as transactions. The information isn't perfect and I don't represent it as
comprehensive but I do believe that directionally and order-ofmagnitude we've got those elements right as outlined in this preliminary analysis.
Before we get to that though, you know I love a good story
and the path to where we are today to produce the below graph
is worth telling. Back in the early 2010s, I had given up on creating my own facility database to track all the standard elements
of the "shape of supply" (# of facilities, holes, access types, year
built, greens fees etc.). Yielding to economic and resource reality,
I turned to the NGF to license their facility database which we
did for several years with moderate success. Somewhere around
2016, after publishing our latest State of the Industry, I got a call
from my NGF "handler" for the facility database informing me
that Joe B. wanted him to relay that I wasn't allowed to publish
summary information on opens/closures using the NGF data I

was licensing (for 5-figures annually). Needless to say I was a bit
shocked in that I was simply comparing the previous year's file to
the current and figuring out what the add/drops were and summarizing the stocks and flows. Concurrent with that "agree-todisagree" dialogue, I was approached by Mike Dickoff of GroupLooper asking if I'd like to join his merry band in creating a
"co-op" facility database which we've subsequently built, refined
and branded as the Internet Golf Course Database (IGDB, like
the movies, get it?). The rest, as they say, is history. Except for
the fact that 2 years ago we decided that we could enhance it
further by capturing Year Closed for the dearly departed (also
by month where we could ascertain it, keeping them in the database for retrospective analysis, which NGF didn't offer) as well as
beginning a catalogue of course transactions to understand the
quantity, mix and seasonality of what's changing hands out there
(which was also not an NGF feature).
Fast forward several years and we're now powered in our
market analysis, State of the Industry and advisory projects by
IGDB as it relates to the size, shape, distribution and activity
level of the golf supply base in the US. Which brings me to
today's topic and the question that I asked myself recently, "I
wonder if the COVID industry impact is showing up yet in increased closures or transactions compared to recent history?" (i.e.
last year since that's all the further I have against which to accurately benchmark) Turning to the information we've compiled
via the IGDB, I was able to produce the below table which gives
us some directional insight into how this year is shaping up vs.
last year through 7 months.

Transactions Accelerate, Continue to
Outpace Closures '20 vs. '19 YtD

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The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020

TOC
Dangerous Beauty: Is Harder Better?
Another perspective on “charity begins at home”
How is/will COVID impact supply/demand (im)balance?
Neutral national June results, regional “mileage” varies
May Utilization posts nice gain but rounds “rebound” underwhelms
Chicago has a strong golfer base, just needs more motivation/activation
26 Activities; Transacts handily beat Closeds 15-7!
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - TOC
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - Dangerous Beauty: Is Harder Better?
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 3
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 4
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - Another perspective on “charity begins at home”
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 6
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - How is/will COVID impact supply/demand (im)balance?
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 8
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 9
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - Neutral national June results, regional “mileage” varies
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 11
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - May Utilization posts nice gain but rounds “rebound” underwhelms
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 13
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - Chicago has a strong golfer base, just needs more motivation/activation
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 15
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 26 Activities; Transacts handily beat Closeds 15-7!
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 17
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