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Golf business boom draws renewed eye of focus at Experience Scottsdale

Photo of Golfer at Mountain Shadows Golf Resort
The game of golf attracts many to the Valley of the Sun like this golfer at the Mountain Shadows Golf Resort in the Town of Paradise Valley. (Photo: Mountain Shadows/

Experts: Business of golf offers different avenues of revenue

By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press

From weekend warriors and aspiring amateurs to the country club pro and the dedicated spectator, the game of golf is big business in “The West’s Most Western Town,” and the voice of local tourism — Experience Scottsdale — is paying acute attention.

“Experience Scottsdale’s golf members told us Sagacity’s research has been a game changer for the industry,” said Experience Scottsdale Community Affairs Director Stephanie Pressler. “It is Scottsdale-based and one of the few, if not only, companies regularly collecting and analyzing this data for courses across the country. The company’s analysis is similar to STR, the leaders in hotel benchmarking and whose research Experience Scottsdale has used to study the health of our hotels and resorts for decades.”

Part of the Monday, July 26, Experience Scottsdale industry newsletter included data points reporting in June Scottsdale golf courses saw double-digit, year-over-year increases in average rate and revenue per available round.

Sagacity Golf reports during June Scottsdale golf courses saw occupancy dropped to 40.9% while ARPR [average rate per round] rose to $67.19, an increase of 11.3% and RevPAR [revenue per available round] rose to $27.51, an increase of 10.0%. In comparison, the U.S. golf industry saw course occupancy down 2.3%, ARPR up 14.2% and RevPAR up 11.6% year to date, the report states.

Ms. Pressler points out Sagacity Golf has been a longtime partner of Experience Scottsdale, but when COVID-19 hit the partnership was put on pause.

“We’re hearing from our golf members that demand this past spring was higher than previous years,” she pointed out of what industry members are telling tourism officials.

“Though summer has been slower, much like it has been for Scottsdale’s entire tourism industry, they’re expecting a strong fall season and are optimistic about the winter/spring when the Waste Management Phoenix Open coincides with Super Bowl LVII. Some also are seeing interest in golf travel grow among younger players, and Scottsdale is uniquely positioned to attract such travelers thanks to our year-round sunshine and the amenities we offer off the course, including our luxury resorts, outdoor adventure, dining and nightlife.”

Scottsdale, central Phoenix and the East Valley are to a golfer what wine country is to a seasoned sommelier, Ms. Pressler alludes.

“With over 200 courses in the region, golf has long been an important driver for Scottsdale’s tourism industry,” she said. “Travelers from around the world come here to play championship courses and watch tournaments like the annual Waste Management Phoenix Open and the NCAA Golf Championships, which is returning in 2023. Of Scottsdale’s overnight domestic leisure visitors, hundreds of thousands cite golf as the main purpose of their trip — and many more traveling for other reasons enjoy Scottsdale’s golf courses and amenities while they’re here.”

Ms. Pressler explains Experience Scottsdale seeks to serve what membership wants.

“Experience Scottsdale is a membership-based organization, and we represent golf courses, businesses and attractions throughout the region,” she said of what the golf business matters.

“Through our advertising, public relations, convention sales and tourism trade efforts, we position Scottsdale as a premier golf destination and keep Scottsdale’s golf offerings and events top of mind with leisure visitors, media, and meetings and travel professionals. We also work with golf writers and experts to produce content for our website and visitor guide to ensure we’re providing relevant resources to travelers interested in golfing during their Scottsdale vacations.”

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