April suffered a slight dip in Golf Playable Hours (GPH) compared to 2008. At the national level, April's GPH were off 3% compared to the same period last year. That brings the Year-to-Date (Ytd) weather impact back into the neutral zone at +2% vs. the same period in 2008.
Encouragingly, the YtD regional breadth ratio (measured as # of regions up compared against # of regions down) held steady at 1.3:1. This is comprised of 19 regions up vs. 15 down with the remaining 11 weather-based regions recording neutral results (+/-2%, all 45 regions were showing GPH in April). Among the key rounds-contributing regions, there are favorable weather trends (up 10%+ in GPH) in PA West, Ohio Valley, Minnesota and the Mid-Continental regions among others. Unfavorable YtD weather trends ( down 10%+) among key regions are inland New England, PA/NJ/NY, Great Lakes and the Pacific NW. Fortunately other bellwhether (bad pun) regions such as CA, FL and Desert SW are in the neutral zone YtD with the exception of the SE Coast region which is down 5-10%.
Looking back at the previously-reported March weather results vs. the industry alliance rounds played shows that Utilization dropped meaningfully in March to 47% or a drop of over 2 points vs. the 2008 national annual benchmark. Breaking this down, we saw a 3% increase in rounds against a 14% increase in GPH which suggests that we showed demand growth but it significantly lagged the month's favorable weather. Pellucid is now tracking % Utilization monthly across 50+ local markets for clients wanting to understand which local markets gained or lost in this key performance measure.
Pellucid President Jim Koppenhaver comments on the current results saying, "I wasn't far off in last month's prediction that we wouldn't see a double-digit increase in rounds demand to match the strong March weather favorability. While some clients have raised the valid point that tracking national weather using a rules-based system can't capture all the nuances of localities (like 50, drizzling and slight breezes in Kansas City, particularly on the weekends) the drop in Utilization reinforces that we still have work to do as it relates to the fundamental health of demand. The other troubling factor to now incorporate into the mix is the PGA of America's recent release of an 11% decline in March Median Greens Fee revenue and a 4% drop in the same measure for the 1st quarter. Coupling that with the rounds and Utilization for Q1, we get a scorecard of rounds (+2%), GPH (+6%), % Utilization (-2 pts) and GF Revenue (-4%). That means, we've been able to eke out a gain in rounds demand but fueled by favorable weather and an increased reliance on discounting (i.e. 6% higher than 2008 comparing the rise in rounds to the drop in revenue). Not a great Q1 scorecard but, as Joe Beditz and others in the industry frame it, better than all the automakers and financial institutions combined."
More detail on the results from national to regional to market and even individual facility level can be obtained through combinations of Pellucid's Weather Impact Analyses: The Regional/Market Weather Impact Tracking report, the Facility 10-year Weather Impact Trend report, the Facility Annual Weather Impact Analysis and the Facility Monthly Weather Impact Tracking report. Pellucid also continues to integrate weather impact into their Facility Performance Scorecard (FPS) application for clients using the FORE! Reservations Point-of-Sale system. Combined with the client revenue data, this produces the key measure of RevpAR (revenue per available (capacity) round) which is the single best measure of the financial efficiency of your "factory."
Parties interested in understanding and quantifying what part of rounds and revenue performance is due to ''controllable'' vs. ''uncontrollable'' factors (i.e. course owners, lenders, buyers, sellers, equipment manufacturers, retailers and service providers) can find more information on Pellucid's weather capabilities at www.pellucidcorp.com.
For more specific information on the expanding portfolio of Pellucid Weather Impact reports including a sample report and pricing, contact Jim Koppenhaver at email@example.com.
Jim Koppenhaver, President, Pellucid Corp.