SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of last year, it took a big toll on the sports world, from the professional level to youth leagues. However, the golf industry was able to surge in popularity during this time.
Dustin Irwin, the Club Director at Omni La Costa Resort and Spa says it was do in part to golf being an outside sport, with the great ability for social distancing.
"Golf really presented itself as a COVID winner because the way the game is. It naturally distances people out because people hit it left and right, and all over the place. Golf has really been a bright spot in the whole COVID-19 world."
In fact, statistics show rounds of golf are up 32 percent across the United States from 2019. Courses have noticed many new people are taking lessons, while others are dusting off their old clubs..
"We've never seen this demand before. I mean we've never seen the tee sheets fill up as far in advance as they have. We have people coming from Los Angeles County because they can't get a tee time anywhere. Pre-COVID, I would look at the tee sheets 3 or 4 days out on a weekend and I'd have some availability. Now, 2 to 3 weeks out, we are booked solid. Golf has really boomed."
According to the National Golf Federation, in 2020 an estimated 3 million new golfers nation wide hit the course for the very first time.
"I've talked to so many people that say they hadn't picked up a golf club in 2 or 3 years. They say because they didn't have anything else to do, they picked it back up.
In 2020 there were 60 million more tee times than in the previous year. It was the largest increase since 1997 when Tiger Woods won the Masters, and helped introduce new people to the game.