Golf courses across Stark County gain more business in 2022

Kelsey Schrock, of Beach City, prepares to drive her 7th hole at Spring Valley Golf Course in East Sparta.  Local golf courses are reporting a spike in business this summer.

Ryan Johnson started playing golf less than a year ago. Indeed, he prefers to hit the range in his spare time.

On his 19th birthday last month, his parents bought him new golf clubs. His social media feeds are also filled with golf content.

“I got to know and noticed a lot of people coming in to play golf,” said Johnson, of Jackson Township. “I know a group of my friends have been asking for golf and things like that more often than we did in the past.”

Johnson and his friends are among the many people who have started playing the sport in recent years, a movement visible on golf courses across Stark County as parking lots and tee times are filling up and business is booming.

Putting golfers at the Massillon Legends Course.  Local golf courses are reporting a spike in business this summer.

Carrie Lowry, PGA Director of Golf and General Manager at Legends of Massillon Golf Coursehas estimated business on its course has increased 30% since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US in the spring of 2020. Last year, she said, about 48,000 rounds of golf were played at Legends, roughly 300 golfers per day.

Across the United States in 2021, 37.5 million people over the age of six participated in golf activities on and off the course, according to the data From the National Golf Foundation. More than 3.2 million people played golf for the first time last year, breaking the previous record set in 2000 of 800,000 people.

Lowry said people flocked to the golf courses because playing the sport was a way to relieve stress, and it also allowed people to be outdoors, away from the health restrictions imposed on indoor areas. This led to a new era for the sport in which people traditionally unrelated to it – such as teenagers and women – played a major role in the development of the game.

The Legends of Massillon Golf Course.  Wednesday 20 July 2022.

More young men and women are enjoying golf

“There is a tremendous amount of growth in the younger age groups,” said Andy Lyons, owner of Lions den golf course Near Canal Fulton. “Several years ago, it was just the opposite. All the growth was there and expected to be in the older[age group]and now we’re seeing a radical shift from that.”

Lyons said venues like Topgolf and 1899 Indoor Golf — both of which use traditional golf elements in competitive-style games — have motivated people to try their hand at real golf courses.