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Web Street Golf Daily Pulse
VOLUME 9, NUMBER 238                                                       
Monday, December 16, 2019

THE END: Another golf season has come and gone. Time stands still for no one. As the PGA TOUR takes a small sabbatical before it begins yet another year that offers a pot of gold at the end of another rainbow, this marks the last issue of the Daily Pulse for 2019 and forever. The time has come to say farewell. For everyone that has been a part of the ride, thank you.

The Web Street Golf Report began publishing in 1997. It was a very different world then as the newsletter started out on a weekly schedule. Candidly, it would never have happened if not for the advent of the Internet. In 1997, the worldwide web existed through telephone lines. For those that remember, if you could secure a 56k connection you were laughing or so you thought!! Now you’re laughing for a different reason thinking back on that connection!

The golf industry was reluctant to embrace the powers of the Internet. In the early existence of it, the only application that many thought might apply was a business-to-business relationship. Broadband connection wasn’t something many envisioned. However, in time as it became a reality, the scope of possibilities began to expand. Ultimately a direct relationship to consumers became too irresistible to ignore.

In 2010, with some reluctance the Daily Pulse started. The world was moving faster thanks in large part to the global adoption and powers of the Internet. Social media, mostly misunderstood and still is in many instances, was just getting started. Facebook began in February of 2004 followed by Twitter in March of 2006. A byproduct of these platforms was the ability of anyone to share information. That requires a loose definition as content might be a more apt description. Nevertheless if there was something to share this was quickly becoming the mode in which to do so. Web Street Golf Report was quickly becoming the equivalent of crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat. The Daily Pulse was intended to compete in part with the speed of communication the world was transforming to. However, as we see on a daily, if not hourly basis, the world no longer is as patient for good or bad information!

To think back at the way things were in the early days of the Internet is quite amusing. Stock quotes were delayed unless you paid for it to be in real time. Many were strongly opposed to the notion of paying for anything from the Internet. And yet here we are today. In 2018, U.S. online retail sales of physical goods amounted to 501 billion US dollars and it is projected to surpass 740 billion US dollars in 2023. Apparel and accessories retail e-commerce in the U.S. alone is projected to generate over 145.8 billion U.S. dollars in revenue by 2023. Brick and mortar in many instances has been the victim.

Technology has become a major part of everyday life and business. Its doubtful anyone could have predicted with any accuracy the way our lives would be impacted by it. Streaming video or music was never something anyone would have seen coming. And yet here it is today in a big way. As much as technology has become a necessity of life it seems to have less upside, at present, within golf.

Manufacturers have made big strides in the way they do business. The ruling bodies appear to be trying to adapt to the times. While its fair to say more can be done, the game it deeply rooted in tradition. For the caretakers of it, it puts them in a very precarious position. Get with the times and it may leave a lasting legacy that history may or may not be so kind in viewing. The industry has been at a crossroads for several years.

Participation rates have been stagnant for too many years. The notion of build a course a day to satisfy demand was a farce. Course closures along with retail contraction have been going on for longer than anyone wants to admit. Stakeholders that support this wonderful game have managed admirably in finding ways to sustain themselves and in turn their respective shareholders. It isn’t as easy as it appears! Some of the potential applications the Internet was expected to deliver haven’t happened, at least not yet.

For example, a reader pointed out to me last month, that according to a Forbes article, EZLinks saw 16% of 2016 rounds booked online, up from 11% in 2011. Some estimate that 25% of all rounds, at the most, are electronically booked. It doesn’t stack up very well when considering where hotels and airlines bookings reside. According to a study conducted by Staticbrain nearly 65.4% of bookings are made online on hotel websites compared to 19.5% on online travel agencies (OTAs) like Expedia, Booking etc. Electronic tee times were thought to be a path towards incremental growth for courses. It hasn’t happened. In turn it represents additional costs to owner and operators and led in many cases to price contraction. Meanwhile, there are several platforms in existence. Courses are challenged to determine which is better than the other. In other words the worldwide web hasn’t represented an absolute home run to all businesses. You take the good with the bad.

The golf industry has been incredible generous to me. I’m thankful for what it has provided. But now it is time for me to step away. It has been an enjoyable ride that has taken me to places I never imagined. I’ve met people that I have learned from and left a lasting impact on me. It’s a great game and one I intend to enjoy for as long as possible. Sadly there are some that are no longer with us from the time the newsletters began. It offers more resolve to enjoy the game for as long as possible after all its what any of us (professional or recreational) can truly hope for. Rather than appear like the old man (that I am) yelling at the kids to get off my lawn when it comes to taking to task those that appear to be directed the wrong way in golf, I’ve chosen discretion as the better part of valor. Golf is a great game. One that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. It doesn’t discriminate on who can enjoy it. Nevertheless, there isn’t enough people today that seem to be willing to face challenges head on, which is at the heart of what golf represents.

Golf is a niche sport, in my opinion. It isn’t for everyone but for those that do become infected by it, it can be a love affair littered with some frustration. Nevertheless, for those that toil at supporting the game with courses, equipment, apparel, etc., I wish the very best of luck. They’ll be winners and losers but recreational players will be the beneficiaries. I will be one of them. Thank you to everyone that has been a part of the Web Street Golf Report and Daily Pulse for more than 20 years. Please get out and play as often as possible!

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IS BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE, BUT IT IS NOT GUARANTEED. THE OPINION EXPRESSED IS THAT OF TERRY MCANDREW AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED A SOLICITATION TO BUY OR SELL SECURITIES IN ANY OF THE COMPANIES DISCUSSED WITHIN THIS NEWSLETTER. CONTENTS OF THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT BE REPRINTED OR REBROADCAST WITHOUT THE EXPRESSED WRITTEN CONSENT OF TMAC GOLF