Is Tiger Woods a compelling reason for the latest rise in golf's rounds-played numbers?

June 12, 2019
The PLAYERS Championship - Round Three

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Call it the early returns of the Tiger Effect in 2019. The whole golf world was abuzz with Tiger Woods’ Masters victory two months ago, and the overwhelming sentiment was that Woods’ epic victory would be an immediate spur to the golf business.

Well, at least one precinct is in, and the effect seems profound. According to industry researcher Golf Datatech, rounds played in the month of April were up 6.8 percent. Now, that’s seemingly a healthy number, but when you consider that much of the U.S. experienced one of the wettest springs on record, the only logical explanation for people playing more golf is the man who won his 15th major championship inspired a large number of people to get out and play.

According to the April report, rounds were up or flat in five of the eight regions tracked by Golf Datatech, and in many of those cases, those increases came despite less-than-desirable playing conditions.

In the West North Central Region (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri), precipitation was up 105 percent in April but rounds played were up over 40 percent. In the East North Central (Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio), rain and snow were up 35 percent, but rounds played also increased 26 percent. Thirty-one states showed a boost in rounds played in April, including 18 that reported jumps of more than 20 percent compared to April 2018.

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For the year, rounds played are up 1 percent, which includes a 31-percent gain for the Mid-Atlantic, a 15-percent jump for New England and a 20-percent increase for the East North Central.