Same-store rounds played in the U.S. fell 10.8% in March 2005 vs. March 2004, according to data provided to NGF by golf course operators around the country. The resulting year-to-date figure is 5.2% lower than the same period last year. In the Sunbelt, where the majority of golf is played in the first quarter of the year, only the Gulf Coast region was in positive territory (+0.4%) year-to-date. The Upper Midwest saw the largest overall decline for both the month of March and YTD with rounds played down nearly 47% for each.

The largest gain of the quarter came in the Northwest with rounds up 17.9%, easily attributable to the warm weather which has plagued that region’s ski resorts. Nationwide, Private Clubs saw rounds decline 6.8%, while Public Courses saw only a 4.8% decrease.

The drops in rounds played should not come as much of a surprise after the tough quarter experienced by golf industry vendors in general. Callaway and Adams Golf both posted declines in sales for the quarter. Acushnet managed only slim growth, while TaylorMade-adidas Golf managed the only significant sales gains on strong European sales.