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Golf Rounds At Highest Levels Since Tiger Woods' 1997 Breakout: How Investors Can Play It

·2 min read

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in the number of rounds of golf played and golf equipment purchased.

What Happened: A report from the National Golf Foundation shows the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the golf industry.

Rounds of golf played in October were up 32% year-over-year. Through October, rounds of golf played were up 10.8% year-over-year.

Most years see only a 1%-2% rise or fall in the number of rounds of golf played. The last five years of 2015 to 2019 have shown year-over-year changes of +1.8%, +0.6%, -2.7%, -4.8% and +1.5%, respectively.

More than 50 million additional rounds of golf have been played in 2020.

The last time a year-over-year increase of this size was recorded was 1997, which was Tiger Woods' breakout year.

More golf facilities surveyed are saying they are in good financial health, which is a positive trend over recent years that have seen closures of golf courses.

The third quarter of 2020 saw U.S. golf equipment retail sales increase 42% year-over-year to $1 billion.

This was the highest third quarter in history and trailed only the second quarter of 2008, which had a total of $1.01 billion and came when Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open.

Related Link: Did Callaway Golf Sink A Birdie By Buying Topgolf At A 50% Discount To IPO Price?

Stocks To Watch: The biggest pure-play stocks for the surge in golf demand are Callaway Golf Company (NYSE: ELY) and Acushnet Holdings Corp (NYSE: GOLF), both of which sell apparel and golf supplies.

Callaway reported third-quarter earnings per share of 60 cents, which beat estimates of 38 cents. The company’s revenue total of $475.6 million beat estimates of $451.3 million.

Acushnet beat third-quarter earnings per share estimates of 41 cents with a reported total of 84 cents per share. The company also beat estimates for revenue with a total of $482.9 million versus a $414-million estimate from analysts.

Both companies are expected to report fourth-quarter earnings in February.

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