Teeing It Up

Number of rounds played in Colorado drops by biggest percentage since 2013, but much of decrease likely weather-related; rounds in Centennial State still up more than 12 percent compared to 2019

By Gary Baines – 1/27/2023

Just about anyone who has played golf over the last few years has likely noted the jump in the amount of business at courses since the Covid-19 pandemic struck about three years ago.

Indeed, just in the case of 2020, the number of rounds played in Colorado increased a whopping 19.9 percent compared to the previous year.

And while the industry has largely “retained the gain” in the years since, there’s been a bit of a back-off in 2021 and ’22 in Colorado. At least that’s what the data tell us.

After the number of rounds played in the Centennial State dropped 2.1 percent in 2021 compared to the previous year, the decrease was larger last year. Golf Datatech released its National Rounds Played Report on Friday, and it indicates that the drop for 2022 was 4.1 percent in Colorado compared to ’21. 

And by no means was Colorado alone in this decrease in rounds last year. Nationwide, the rounds dropped 3.7 percent in 2022, though they had increased 5.5 percent in 2021.

To put the Colorado numbers into perspective, it’s the biggest percentage decrease year over year in the state since 2013, when the drop was a whopping 14.2 percent. The rounds played +/- percentages over the last nine years in Colorado: up 2.3 percent in 2014, down 1.3% in 2015, up 6.5% in 2016, up 3% in 2017, down 2.4% in 2018, down 3.1% in 2019, up 19.9% in 2020, down 2.1% in 2021, and down 4.1% in 2022.

Of course, comparing rounds played one year to the next involves numerous factors, with one of the most notable being weather. For instance, in December, when Colorado had more than its usual snow and cold, its rounds were down 47.5 percent compared to the same month in 2021.

And, looking at things over the last few years, rounds in Colorado still increased 12.6 percent from 2019 to 2022, based on the Golf Datatech numbers.

Golf Datatech includes both public-access and private facilities in its National Rounds Played Report. For the country overall, private rounds were down 5.1 percent in 2022, while public-access rounds decreased 3.3 percent.

It should be noted that golf trends are much bigger than simply rounds played. For instance, according to a recently released survey conducted by the National Golf Foundation and Topgolf, the number of off-course golfers in the country (27.9 million) was larger than on-course golfers (25.6 million) for the first time. Among those who fall in the “off-course” category are those at standalone driving ranges, entertainment golf facilities and indoor golf simulators — but not miniature golf. Think Topgolf, Drive Shack, etc., regarding where the numbers are jumping. So, if you’d like to combine on-course and off-course participation, those numbers continue to soar.

Meanwhile, the National Golf Foundation reported this week that the number of on-course golfers showed a net increase of 500,000 in 2022.

To view Golf Datatech’s National Golf Rounds Report, see below.

About the Author: Gary Baines owns and operates