Friday, August 26, 2016

Vital Signs, august 26, 2016

     Now that Bandon Dunes has solidified its reputation as one of the world’s remarkable golf destinations, it’s being better appreciated as one of Oregon’s most important economic drivers. Though it’s located in a remote location along the Pacific Ocean, the resort nonetheless plays “a major role in community and economic development efforts along the entire South Coast,” says Bandon Western World, and it’s “helped a struggling region find an economic toehold on its way to recovery.”
     Some relevant statistics: The resort rang up nearly 147,000 rounds in 2014 -- a 64 percent increase over the number it got in 2010, according to a report produced by the University of Oregon’s business school. The resort’s customers are also lengthened their stays, to 2.94 days in 2014 versus 2.4 days in 2010. All told, the report says that Bandon Dunes generated almost $54 million in revenues in 2014, an average of $561 per golfer per day. The biggest spenders are reportedly visitors from California, Oregon, Washington, Texas, and Illinois.
     Bandon Dunes has also become the biggest employer in Coos County, with 543 employees, 449 of them full-timers. (The resort’s 300 caddies operate as independent contractors, not employees.) The average employee’s total compensation package amounts to $33,351 annually, which is, according to a state report, 5 percent more than the average wage in the county.
     The business school’s conclusion: Bandon Dunes is “a key champion of the South Coast’s current and future economic growth,” and it appears to have “an authentic and mission-driven effort to support the region well beyond job and tax growth.”
     It’s easy to make a case for Bandon Dunes being among the golf industry’s greatest success stories. No matter how you measure it, the place is special.

     While Brazil’s Olympics may have been a ratings disappointment, the final round of the men’s golf competition gave the International Golf Federation something to crow about. According to Nielsen, during a key 90-minute window on Sunday an average of 8.8 million viewers were tuned into the television broadcasts provided by NBC and the Golf Channel. Sure, more people watched Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Simone Biles. However, let’s put the ratings in perspective: This year, the only golf event that attracted more eyes was the Masters.

     The golf industry may be hoping to get a lift from the Olympics, but golf in Brazil still has a very long way to go. Although golf arrived in Brazil more than a century ago, the Associated Press reports that the nation still has only 125 courses, about the same number you’ll find in North Dakota.

     The golf business on Canada’s Prince Edward Island is “on the upswing,” according to economic-development and tourism officials in the province. The evidence, however, is scant: In July, the 15 properties in the marketing group that operates as Golf PEI registered a nearly 21 percent increase in the number of rounds played over the same period in 2015. “Great weather, outstanding course conditions, our reputation as a golf destination, and an overall increase in tourism on PEI has created great momentum,” Golf PEI’s executive director said in a press release, “and we fully expect it to continue for the remainder of the season.” Of course, more data would make for a more persuasive case. While we’re at it, though, Golf PEI reports that in 2014 golf contributed an estimated $62.6 million to the province’s gross domestic product.

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