Are July flat rounds numbers good news?

Despite the struggling U.S. economy, the latest National Golf Rounds Played Report had some encouraging news for operators. Rounds totals during July were virtually the same as for July 2008, the report found. So far this year, rounds have inched up 0.2 percent from the same period last year. 
 
“In this current economic environment, essentially flat rounds seven months into the year is a positive result,” a spokesman for the PGA of America’s PerformanceTrak data collection system said. The National Golf Rounds Played Report is compiled by Golf Datatech in cooperation with the PGA of America, National Golf Course Owners Association and National Golf Foundation.
 
For the year, PerformanceTrak found that the median total revenue at golf clubs is down 5.3 percent from the first seven months of 2008. Median revenue is down across the board, in all segments, including golf fees (-5.1 percent), food and beverage (-4.3 percent) and merchandise (-14.2 percent). 
 
Two regions reported gains in rounds during July, the Mid-Atlantic (+4.3 percent) and South Atlantic (+2.4 percent). The largest drop for the month was in New England (-3.8 percent).
 
Here are the rounds totals for selected metropolitan areas.
                                                 July                         YTD
Washington-Baltimore            +4.6%                        - 2.1%
Orlando                               +0.5%                    - 6.0%       
Atlanta                                   - 2.9%                        - 7.8%
Myrtle Beach                          +2.6%                        - 6.2%
New York City                        +0.9%                        - 2.8%
Boston                                   -4.8%                        - 3.6%
Chicago                                  +1.7%                        +0.7%
Detroit                                   - 1.9%                        - 2.3%
St. Louis                                - 8.7%                        + 8.4%
Dallas/Ft. Worth                     - 7.0%                        + 2.2%
Los Angeles                            - 2.8%                        - 1.2 %
San Diego                              - 4.2%                        +1.7%
Phoenix                                 - 7.0%                        - 2.5%
Las Vegas                              + 3.9%                        + 0.4%

Seattle                                  -10.3%                        - 2.5%                                                                                                                                     

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