November weather continued the slight "giveback" pattern that surfaced in October as Golf Playable Hours (GPH) registered down 7% vs. the same period last year at the national level. That continued the slight erosion in the national Year-to-Date (YtD) GPH favorability to +8% vs. the comparable year ago period. The regional breadth for the YtD period continues to be widely favorable at 35:1 with 35 regions having favorable weather against 1 regions with unfavorable weather (the remaining 9 in the neutral zone of +/- 2%). Looking at YtD weather impact performance by day-of-week, the favorable weather continues to be slightly more favorable for weekdays vs. weekends. For the full-year, we saw a slight dip in the continued positive outlook for the balance of the year but are still forecasting a positive for the entire year. The values for the above two metrics as well as market-level Utilization for the preceding month are available to Pellucid Publications Members via the Client section at the Pellucid website (go to www.pellucidcorp.com
for information or to subscribe).
Looking back on October rounds played (as reported by Golf Datatech/NGF) to calculate the facility % Utilization Rate (UR), rounds demand (-5%) was dead on the weather decline (-5%) resulting in a stabilization of UR for the month at 52% which is level with the 2011 year-end value. For the YtD period, the UR held its own (51%) but still lags year ago by 1 point comprised of a healthy increase in rounds demand (+6%) slightly trailing even better weather (+9%). At the market level for the YtD period, the UR breadth continued in the negative with a 1:2 ratio of favorable/unfavorable markets (comprised of 9 markets up vs. 18 down and 34 in the neutral zone) as most markets have been unable to keep pace on the rounds demand side against the incredible and broad-based weather favorability.
Jim Koppenhaver comments, "November was a solid month in that we held Utilization in the face of less favorable weather and, other than our counter-seasonal markets, the impact on the year-end value greatly diminishes in Q4. If one looks at the regional map we produce for our Pellucid Publications members, you can see the impact of Sandy up the northern part of the eastern seaboard. However, while it was a significant weather event and wreaked havoc on major metro areas, the impact on golf given the late season timing and the geography affected was minimal (even though I'm sure that most of the other golf trade media are going to cite it as Exhibit A in why rounds were down for the month; those who can't quantify, rationalize). As outlined in our most recent Outside the Ropes newsletter, it's really hard to overemphasize the magnitude of the weather favorability in 2012. Unless something incredibly unusual happens in December, the national Golf Playable Hours will be a record since 2005 (maybe before that, we only started tracking and quantifying it for golf that year and beyond) and will beat the previous 5-yr average ('07-'11) by almost 5%. Given the tight range of GPH we've seen at the national level since we started tracking it, that's a monumental upside number. Proving once again that "all golf is local," there are a number of markets which are pulling defeat from the jaws of victory with declines in Utilization of 3 points or more such as Dallas, Palm Beach and Boston" (GPH, Rounds and Utilization results at the market-level detail are available monthly to our Pellucid Publications subscribers).
On the Golf Fee Revenue (GFR) side via the October PGA PerformanceTrak numbers, they're reporting a 6% decrease for the month (slightly higher than the 5% rounds decrease which means rate-per-played-round was off 1% vs. YA). For the YtD period, GFR is +8% (slightly better than the 7% rounds increase meaning rate-per-round is +1% vs. YA). Inferring Revenue per Available Round (RevpAR, or the revenue efficiency of our "factories") by comparing the YtD GFR gain (+8%) against the GPH gain (+9%), it suggests that RevpAR is off slightly (-1%) vs. year ago meaning we can explain the vast majority of the positive revenue variance is due to favorable weather.
A broader and more detailed scorecard of the monthly key industry metrics can be found in Pellucid's free digital magazine, The Pellucid Perspective. To register to get the current and future editions, go to http://www.pellucidcorp.com/news/elist
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Intelligent, curious and courageous industry stakeholders wanting the detailed metrics and monthly updates on weather impact at the national, regional and market level as well as utilization and the full year forecast numbers can subscribe to the Pellucid Publications Membership (Outside the Ropes monthly newsletter, 2011 State of the Industry, Monthly Weather Impact and Top 25 Golf Markets reports) for $495 annually. For individual facility owner/operators who need facility-level history, current year results by month and day-of-week and full year forecast data, Pellucid/Edgehill's self-serve, web-delivered, real-time weather impact service product, Cognilogic, is your answer. It's available for $240 for the year-end report and 12 month tracking or $120 for a single year-end report. For more information, contact Stuart Lindsay of Edgehill Golf Advisors (firstname.lastname@example.org
). You can now order either of the above information services via Pellucid's online store at http://www.pellucidcorp.com/purchase-reports/online-store