A resurgence in golf popularity continues nationwide this year, and particularly in Wisconsin, according to a recent report from the National Golf Foundation (NGF).
The rounds played in July 2021 nationwide were 3.9% below the “frenzied pace” of July 2020, but they are well above the 2019 level, NGF reported. In July 2020, NGF saw a social distancing-fueled golf boom. Longtime golfers, returnees, and beginners flocked to courses because outdoor activities like golf (and fishing) filled a niche for people looking for something to do while following COVID-19 prevention protocols.
Despite the sharp spike in national rounds played from July 2019 to July 2020 – an increase that other Midwestern states failed to match this summer – overall Wisconsin courses saw an overall 7% increase in rounds played this July last July.
How are Door County’s golf courses doing?
Idlewild pro Brandon Hansen said the course had a busy year and was almost on par with last summer. He said it’s been a good year despite some extremely heavy rainfall in southern Door County, which resulted in flooding that forced him to close the course six times.
Maxwelton Braes owner Jim Bresnahan said the course south of Baileys Harbor had been busy all summer.
“I can confirm that we have seen an increase from 2020 levels,” he said.
In Cherry Hills, owner Jon Martell has made great strides in renovating the course and lodge in recent years, and his place has benefited greatly from the timely rainfall this year.
“This July, our laps at Cherry Hills were even with the laps in July 2020,” Martell said in an email. “This is still an increase of around 20% compared to the 2019 figures. Several factors play a role, I’m sure. One of them is likely Alpine reopening, which closed in 2020. As one of our closest neighboring public courses, many of their golfers have played Cherry Hills all of 2020 but have likely returned to Alpine this season. “
Martell said he did a lot of publicity and publicity in 2020 due to uncertainties about COVID-19 – that it would result in people avoiding the golf course.
“Overall, I am very happy with the level of play that has remained constant,” he said, and “we have been very busy at the lodge with an influx of travelers returning this season.”
Overall business at the Peninsula State Park Golf Course is better than last year, and the 18-hole course, driving range, and six-hole short course have been busy all summer, said Jason Daubner, general manager. He said revenue this year has improved over the previous year because he and his staff were allowed to open the restaurant and clubhouse and put more players into groups.
Because Peninsula is state owned, it must follow Wisconsin state land protocols, such as an order to keep the clubhouse closed to the public last year.
“Last year was an anomaly,” said Daubner both in the resurgence of the rounds played and in the loss of the restaurant and clubhouse business.
Weather and greenskeeping efforts have kept the peninsula’s fairways and greens lush this year. Plus, most of the storms and rains came at night so they didn’t wash out tee times. A weather-related closure took place on September 8th from dawn to 12 noon, when an early morning storm soaked the route, broke branches and scattered debris and branches.
The shortage of golf equipment and apparel has hurt the pro shop business on the peninsula, other golf courses, and stores across the country. Global supply chain problems have made golf clubs difficult to obtain, and a lack of resin has hampered the manufacture of golf balls. Daubner said that almost anything that comes into the pro shop sells quickly, leaving bald spots here and there on the shelves of the clubhouse.
It’s doubtful anyone thought Wisconsin would become a regular destination for the world’s best golfers when the state’s top golfing attraction was the Greater Milwaukee Open at Brown Deer.
But fast-forward to this month as Wisconsin is hosting the men’s most prestigious team event, the Ryder Cup, September 21-26. The players are on their way to Kohler for their matches in Whistling Straits, where the 2004, 2010 and 2015 PGA Championship was held. Aside from Whistling Straits, only two other courses in Wisconsin have hosted majors: Erin Hills in 2017 (US Open) and Blue Mound Golf and Country Club (1933 PGA Championship).
Find out more about match and training days, rules and guidelines, parking facilities and ticket availability for the Ryder Cup at rydercup.com. The seats in the stands are allocated according to the principle of “first come, first served”. Participants aged 17 and younger have free entry on the exercise days, Tuesday, September 21st through Thursday, September 23rd, accompanied by an adult with an admission ticket.
The Golf Channel and / or NBC will be covering the Ryder Cup all day from September 24th to 26th.