Last Update :6/19/2018

June Perspective: Which course types are highest closure candidates?


Dear Golf Industry Professional:
With nearly half the year behind us, we finally got our first year-over-year positive "comp" for weather in May which should provide a shot in the arm for rounds demand when those results are published by Golf Datatech later this month.  The penultimate penal professional event, AKA the US Open, has again been contested with revenge of the USGA gods having been exacted after last year's assault on the sanctity of even par.

Back in the golf industry operational world, it continues to be pretty ugly in our current poor weather=lower rounds=lower revenue cycle while costs are flat to rising.  In a recent email exchange with a colleague discussing the adoption and value equation for the nascent ORCA benchmarking system, this person summed up the average operator's sentiment as, "I know it's bad, I don't need a 3rd party reminder of just how bad it is."  While I fully believe and support the fact that we do need (weather-adjusted) benchmarking, I can definitely understand the perspective that, in a down cycle, folks are more reluctant to pay for bad news or to compare whether they're down more or less than their peers.  This month's lead story by Contributing Editor Stuart Lindsay looks at the relationship between course closures and the presence of equity or availability of subsidy.  What Stuart's analysis shows is that courses without either equity or subsidy (i.e. privately-owned, daily fee courses) are most vulnerable and represent a disproportionate percent of closures.  For Stuart's take, read the current issue:

In addition, the June issue covers the following topics, none of which you'll find in any other industry trade publication, guaranteed:

  • Publisher Jim Koppenhaver recalls his childhood and those "monsters under the bed" and why deferred Capital Expenditures (CapEx) are going to turn out to be actual monsters for a significant number of municipal golf operations based on a number of recent assignments and information that's in the public domain.  If it's any consolation, his church is facing a $750K roof replacement that they also haven't accrued/reserved for but, last time he checked, municipalities don't have a capital campaign option or major donors they can lean on.  There may be a future though for public-private partnerships as the most likely way to plug a number of these upcoming financial holes.
  • Editor-in-Chief Jim Dunlap follows what may be an emerging trend of golf courses selling off limited parcels of un/underused land to keep the core operation running.  He outlines a budding business in "planting" hotels on the golf course property which then operate efficiently by sharing the clubhouse, parking lot and it's a natural tie in with events like weddings and parties where you now have the event venue and accommodations co-located.  While there aren't thousands of those situations, there are likely 100+ nationally and it could be a great example of necessity being the mother of invention. 
  • Plus the monthly Industry Scorecard (the only integrated scorecard of multi-source performance indicators) including the May weather impact results (up, broadly, finally!) and the April YtD Utilization (way up, again a result of rounds declining less than weather again).  We also chart the monthly timeseries for the year of Golf Playable Hours and Utilization while our Market Focus continues with the profile of Cleveland, OH as this month’s Market Focus which registers as the 21st healthiest of the Top 25 US Golf Markets in our annual ranking.
We recognize and thank our continuing sponsors; KemperSports, Troon Golf, Bayer CropScience and EZLinks Golf.  For all those service providers and suppliers to the golf industry out there with the latest-and-greatest to offer to the industry thought-leaders who read our monthly publication, might we suggest considering joining our merry little band through our most popular 12-month sponsorship program? (offered at an improved value relative to our entry-level six month sponsorship rate)  Twelve-month sponsors also receive all Pellucid industry-standard reports (State of the Industry, Outside the Ropes, Monthly Weather Impact Tracking (Nat'l, Reg'l, Markets), Top 25 US Golf Markets Scorecard and National Golf Consumer Franchise Health Scorecard). Sponsorship provides monthly exposure to approximately 30K industry leaders and followers and associates your brand with Pellucid’s effort to expand intelligent thinking on today's most challenging industry issues.  For more "opportunistic" spenders, we might suggest one of our smaller-bite Ad Partner programs for those who may not be able to make a 6 or 12-month commitment (as short as 3 months are now available) or who may not need a half page or more exposure (quarter pages now available).  If you're interested in knowing more about sponsorship opportunities or are interested in a preview of our ad partner options, contact Editor-in-Chief Jim Dunlap (760-212-3714,

If you know of associates who would benefit from the topics and insights covered in this issue, feel free to forward this email and encourage them to register on the Pellucid website  ( to join the conversation, discussion and debate.

We also want to bring to your attention Pellucid's next generation golf course database, the Internet Golf Course Database (IGDB) with partners Apparation LLC, Never-Search and  We've just completed a manual review of thousands of facilities against the industry's legacy facility database provider and found hundreds of discrepancies in the existence of facilities (they're missing quite a few of the Learning & Practice facilities across the US & they're still carrying 100+ closed facilities), address errors and facility name errors.  While no database will ever be 100% accurate, we were surprised at the quantity and range of inconsistencies as well as the fact that most of the major tee time providers and recommendation sites (like GolfAdvisor) are propagating these phantom facilities and errors 5-10 fold for people doing Google searches online.  Talk about an "echo chamber"...  For more information on our comprehensive database, updated quarterly and refreshed completely every 12 months (all 15K+ US courses), contactt

As always, you can review and order any of Pellucid's range of reports and services at  From the numbers and details of how our industry's consumer base is changing at the national level to our individual facility-level services including weather impact (Cognilogic) and market analysis (Golf Local Market Analysis), we'll keep you one step ahead of the competition in this continuing challenging industry landscape.

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