While Washington ski resorts have felt the brunt of this year’s warmer temperatures, other outdoor Whatcom County recreational activities have thrived.
And there may be no other sporting industry happier right now than the golfing world.
The PGA of America recently released the U.S. golf rounds played and revenue report for February, 2015, and based off the data Washington’s golf marketplace is trending upward in a major way.
Recently collected data from 50 statewide facilities has revealed a massive increase in golf rounds played, golf fee revenue, merchandise revenue and food and beverage revenue when compared to the same month’s numbers in 2013.
Golf rounds played are up an astounding 110.4 percent and fee revenue (128.5 percent), merchandise (70.2 percent) and food and beverage (17.2 percent) have seen drastic improvements as well.
Bo Stephan, golf pro and operator at Homestead Golf and Country Club in Lynden, contributed the positive trends to Mother Nature’s cooperation.
“When the weather is good, golfers come out. It’s simple as that,” Stephan said in a phone interview. “It’s just my thought that I don’t believe that it really has to do with much else but weather. A ski resort would be pissed, but a golf resort is loving it.”
Stephan said Homestead’s numbers aren’t “through the roof,” but he did say they are doing twice as much business as last year.
Based off information gathered from weatherunderground.com, February’s average mean temperature in Bellingham this year (47 degrees) is 9 degrees higher than 2014’s February average mean temperature (38 degrees).
The spike in temps have made the golf course a much more desirable destination.
Stephan provided a clear example of how improved golfing conditions are this winter, early spring, compared to last year.
The golf pro was heading to Southern California last year in early February and wanted to work on his game in anticipation of the golf he would play once in California, but he said there wasn’t a course in Whatcom County that had greens suitable for putting. The same time this year leading up to the trip, temperatures were in the low 60s, and the sun was shining.
Stephan admitted working in an industry where weather can dictate so much can be unnerving, but he vouched for all Whatcom County golf courses, saying he believes all locations do the best they can to make golf accessible for everyone.
“In the winter it’s always, ‘Everyone, please stay,’” Stephan said. “It’s great you can get away, but you’re always hoping for that good weather, and thankfully we have had that.”