Sport: Is golf still booming? Rounds played in U.S. up again for June but down for the year vs. COVID surge

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Is golf still booming? Are more people playing in the wake of now years-old COVID-19 gains for the game? How’s the weather? All relevant questions as the golf industry tries to maintain a furious rally in annual rounds played in 2020 and ’21.

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The latest: Golf Datatech and the National Golf Foundation reported this week that rounds played in June were up 2.7 percent versus the same month in 2021. But that gain was on the heels of monthly declines in four of the previous five months. For the year, 2022 trails 2021 in rounds played by 5.7 percent, the industry-monitoring Golf Datatech reported.

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The weather plays a considerable role, making it difficult for industry trackers to discern if declines in rounds played are because golfers who flocked to courses during the worst of the COVID pandemic have now found other things to do as health restrictions have almost entirely eased.

Industry analyst Pelucid Corp. tracks the days around the country on which weather conditions are favorable for golf, and it has reported a 9-percent decline nationwide in playable hours in 2022. The dip in rounds played, at least in part, might be because of winter weather that stretched well into spring in many areas followed by incredible heat waves and storms through much of the summer.

This all comes after some of the most dramatic increases in rounds played in history. The total number of rounds played in 2020 surged 13.9 percent versus 2019 as the pandemic shut down many alternative entertainment and exercise options. Rounds played increased again in 2021, rising 5.5 percent as the popularity of golf continued.

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