Golfers from around the world are jumping on the bandwagon as the Tokyo Olympics golf tournament gets underway. Among them, there is no shortage of players from the United States and Japan who are the favorites to win the championship.
How much do Americans love to play golf? Love to the extent of playing golf even on the moon.
On February 6, 1971, Alan Shepard, commander of Apollo 14, the third U.S. manned mission to the moon, performed his last few tasks on the moon, which included swinging a golf ball. The first shot crashed into a crater in the lunar surface, while the other shot went missing. 50 years later, the Americans rediscovered the lost golf ball.
Not only astronauts, but also the President of the United States can not stop playing golf. On the day the number of confirmed new crowns in the U.S. topped 4.6 million last year, Trump went back to playing golf with a baseball cap and polo shirt on. According to CNN, that was Trump’s 283rd trip to the golf course since he took office.
However, previously Trump slammed Obama on the campaign trail for delaying business by playing golf. But since taking office, Trump has gone to play golf far more often than Obama.
Golf is also exceptionally popular among American folk. One in three Americans over the age of 6 has played golf, watched a tournament event or read about it in 2020.
As the epidemic warms up, more people are heading outdoors for sports and exercise routines. The Masters golf tournament has also ignited Americans’ passion for golf, with golf clubs, equipment, and brands dominating online shopping hot lists. According to eBay, the golf category was one of the top selling categories in sporting goods in 2020, with strong sales and sales growth in the U.S.
In the minds of most Chinese people, golf is a relatively aristocratic sport, like tennis, snooker and bowling. But for our close neighbors, South Korea and Japan, golf can almost be considered a national sport. Whether it’s a politician celebrity or a beat worker who goes to work every day, going to play golf on weekends has become an important part of their lives.
Some data show that the golf population in South Korea alone has reached 4.69 million in 2017 and has been growing steadily for six years in a row. South Korean golfers spend more per capita on golf equipment and apparel than any other country, with Japan following closely behind.
The number of golf courses worldwide has proliferated over the past few years, especially in the top golfing countries such as the US, UK, Japan, Germany and Korea, where more than 50% of all golf courses are located. Most of these courses are part of private clubs, golf-centric real estate venues and golf resorts.
According to Golf Datatech’s research data, there are over 30,000 golf courses around the world, and more than 70% of them are open to the public. Currently, there are more than 200 golf courses under construction and more than 350 golf courses in the planning stage worldwide, indicating a significant increase in demand for golf equipment in the future.
According to the findings of the World Golf Report 2021, the top five golf markets in the world are the United States, Japan, South Korea, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Among them, the United States and Japan account for about two-thirds of the world golf equipment market. The Asia-Pacific golf equipment market is dominated by Japan, followed by China, South Korea, and Thailand. As of 2017, Asia Pacific had 4,570 golf courses, accounting for 14% of the total global market. The demand for golf equipment in Asia Pacific has increased drastically in the past few years.
During the epidemic, people enjoyed more time to dive into golf as 41% of Americans supported the reopening of golf courses in their states, giving a positive impetus to the golf industry. According to Golf Datatech, global golf equipment and apparel sales grew 3% to $13.93 billion in 2020. However, as the epidemic gradually improves, sales of golf’s apparel have plummeted.
In 2021, new fashion trends will provide golfers with aesthetic and functional appeal. Because posture and alignment are key elements of golf, apparel is being developed specifically to help improve spine and neck alignment to maximize game play.
Notably, today, approximately one-third of golfers in the U.S. are millennials, which has impacted the traditional golf community, which is dominated by middle-aged and older adults, prompting local clubs and courses to take the initiative to improve the venue environment, improve equipment performance and fashion, and improve service systems in order to enhance the experience for young people.
Women’s interest in golf is also growing. in 2019, women accounted for about a quarter of all golfers, and the survey found that the number of women among golfers in the primary beginner and junior groups has also increased. They are particularly interested in off-course golf experiences, including golf courses, accounting for 40 percent of all off-course golfers. The increase in the female population will also enhance golf-related equipment and apparel fashion sense.
In addition, as more of the younger population becomes aware of the dangers of climate change and demands for environmentally friendly sports practices and sports products increase, the golf industry will also be under pressure to manage courses in a way that minimizes the environmental impact of clubs and course owners.
Golf has always been a niche sport that has struggled to reach the masses due to site restrictions and relatively high costs. In order to promote the popularization of golf, Korea is actively developing indoor golf courses and simulated golf bars so that more of the public can enjoy the virtual experience of playing on a screen for less money. The younger generation has become the biggest fans of using technology to improve the golf experience.