How Inflation in 2022 Is Affecting the Sport of Golf
Regardless of where in the world you come from, we are all feeling the impact inflation has had on all aspects of our day-to-day life.
For many, the sporting world has always acted as a breather from the challenging times in the outside world. However, even the sports world cannot escape from inflation's grasp. Generally, most sports have in some way been affected by inflation in 2022.
More specifically, in golf, reports show both positive and negative effects on the game since the inflation trend started. Whether it be membership, equipment, fuel prices, or green fees—inflation has without a doubt affected what it takes to play the game today.
Read on as we took a closer look into exactly how inflation is affecting the Golf world in 2022.
When you consider the costs involved in maintaining and running the golf course, it should come as no surprise that every time there is a rise in the cost of living the green fees are likely to increase.
Clubs have no option here as they are faced with a choice of either increasing prices or cutting labor costs. Should they opt for the latter, they are often met with the harsh reality of not being able to accommodate multiple players with reduced labor to care for the course.
Inflation in 2022 has caused many clubs to adjust their prices in a bid to both remain appealing to golfers and maintain their player turnouts. Should the current trend in the rising cost of living continue, you can expect the green fees to go even higher.
Despite the rise in the cost of living, most clubs have reported a rise in player memberships across the US and UK. This can be attributed to several factors one being un uptake in the interest in golf during the Corona period as it was a relatively safe game to play with social distancing.
A close look at why more players are seeking memberships reveals that the rise is seen to go hand in hand with the rise of greens fees. While various research published in 2021 predicted that there would be a rise in the prices, recent world events have also played a part.
Equally, a common trend in 2022 has been discounted membership fees and special fees for some players. Clubs have done this in response to economic trends and as a way of discouraging players from leaving the game as a result of hard times. Thanks to the discounts and special fees, most clubs have reported increases in membership fees across the US. This is in line with an increase in the cost of doing business, more members means they can still keep the costs low. Yet, you could still be part of an executive golf course membership if you can afford to spend a little extra.
However, a common thought amongst professionals is that the impact of the 2022 inflation is more likely going to be felt in the coming months and eventually into 2023. Clubs are eventually going to have to either increase the prices to keep up with their costs.
This is one area you can always rely on to go up anytime the cost of living goes up. There are plenty of reasons for this. One is an increase in the price of raw materials. Everything from the balls, clubs, carts, apparel and even DMDs are priced according to how much it costs to make in 2022. Considering the latest inflation trends, the prices might get even higher.
A lot of work goes into making each of the equipment used in golf. From the research and design to manufacturing and marketing… all of this is reliant on the economy. A general rule to remember is that if it costs more to make, it will be priced higher.
However, even with the increase in equipment prices, there are a few ways you could save a couple of bucks when purchasing equipment. A quick way to do this is to opt for used equipment. For instance, used clubs sold in your local pro shop are often still in pretty good condition and can save you a lot.
There are also a lot of budget-friendly options flooding the market that use cheaper materials. You may be surprised at how good these can be.
Getting to the Course
This is another area that has greatly been impacted by inflation. A rise in fuel and electricity prices will have players weigh their options when it comes to travelling long distances to get to non-local courses.
Recent reports by the National Golf Association and Datatech indicate a decline in the number of rounds played so far this year compared to last year. While there are many reasons this could be so, a higher cost of what it takes to get to the course is without a doubt one of the reasons.
Will Golf Survive?
So far in the year 2022, inflation has had an undeniable impact across various aspects of golf. Yet, when compared with previous years, it is also clear that the game is still in a popular position with players. It will be interesting to see how things go in the remaining months of 2022 and onwards.
Photo: The Royal Ottawa Golf Club