Even with golf booming, 1 state has struggled to fill its tee sheets — but there is good news!

Hawaii has seen rounds plummet year over year.

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Amid the coronavirus pandemic, golf has become the go-to sport for Americans looking to get out of the house and enjoy a day in the fresh air. According to the National Golf Foundation, rounds are up nationally nearly by 9 percent. But despite this renewed interest in the game, one state has not enjoyed the bounties of the boom.

As golf is played more and more in the lower 48, the island-state of Hawaii has actually seen its year-over-year rounds drop significantly. According to an article from the NGF, rounds in September were down over 40 percent year-over-year at Hawaii’s 74 golf courses — nearly one third of which being resort courses.

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This significant drop in rounds played can be attributed to the plummeting of air travel during the pandemic, and the mandatory 14-day quarantine for any visitors arriving in Hawaii. With Hawaii being a tropical destination (particularly for golf) that relies heavily on the tourism industry, golf courses have remained largely empty. Tourism accounts for over 20 percent of the state’s economy, so this has been a significant blow.

“It’s frustrating to be in the visitor industry, which much of this whole state depends on, and for us to have these beautiful courses that for the most part kind of empty,” Mauna Kea Resort’s Director of Golf Josh Silliman told the NGF.

But recently, Hawaii implemented updated safety protocols that should alleviate some of the issues. As of Oct. 15, Hawaii has started a pre-travel testing program that will allow people traveling to the state to take a test before departure that will exempt them from the two-week quarantine. The state is hopeful this will jumpstart their tourism industry.

And if numbers from the rest of the country are any indication, golf will surely be a beneficiary.


Zephyr Melton

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at zephyr_melton@golf.com.