Signs of upturn seen for golf courses

For the first time in a long time, there’s optimism in the golf industry.

That could mean a spike in public play around the country this year, according to the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

In recent years, courses have closed because of a lack of play or a lack of capital. Both public and private courses have been affected.

Rhett Evans, the chief executive officer of the GCSAA, said what he saw in January at the PGA Merchandise Show and Golf Industry Show in Orlando, Fla., bodes well.

“There is definitely a different feeling than what prevailed last year at this time,” Evans said in a statement. “From a qualitative and quantitative perspective, the Golf Industry Show was quite successful.”

There was increased attendance and exhibits at both shows.

The Golf Industry Show is designed for course owners and operators. It combines education, networking and solutions for golf-course superintendents, owners, operators, architects, builders, equipment managers, appraisers and others.

Whether that optimism will translate into more local play is hard to say. Rounds at just about every course were down last year because of the weather and the economy, according to Harold Kincaid, one of the head professionals at Reynolds Park.

“There are several things to be optimistic about,” said Kincaid, who has been in the business for more than 20 years. “I think I can feel the economy picking up some, and folks are starting to spend a little money.”

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