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Topgolf Growth and Influence

by | Feb 14, 2024 | BUSINESS

Brewer Bullish on Topgolf Growth and Influence

Topgolf Callaway Brands (MODG: NYSE) President/CEO Chip Brewer came out swinging on a Feb. 13 conference call with Wall Street analysts, many of whom, among others, have questioned the growth and sustainability of the company’s Topgolf golf entertainment venues.

Those questions have caused volatility in the company’s stock price, which hit a 52-week low of $9.83 this past Nov. 13. MODG stock opened this morning at $14.40 per share (following the Feb. 13 close of $13.53 – before the company released its Q4, 2023 earnings report – and was a high as $14.76 in morning trading.

Brewer began the call by citing National Golf Foundation figures that show a total of 45 million on and off-course golfers – up nine percent year over year and up 32 percent in 2019.

Within those numbers, the NGF estimated 26.6 million Americans played golf on course in 2023, up one million year over year in what was the largest one-year growth in participants since 2001, driven by an all-time high of first-time on-course golfers of 3.4 million.

“I believe it is both impressive and instructive that this far past-COVID on-course golf is still seeing this kind of momentum,’’ Brewer said. “At the same time, 32.9 million Americans participated in off-course golf, up 18 percent year over year and up 41 percent since 2019.

“The game of golf at large is clearly benefiting from a large influx of participants,  capital, the benefit of more flexible work environments, and a  positive change in perception of the game, especially with teens and young adults, and the structural growth of off-course golf.’’

Brewer said Topgolf, which opened 11 Topgolf venues in 2023,  is adding three million to four million new unique visitors each year and will have over 30 million unique visitors in 2024, thus making it a major force in overall golf, with larger individual participation than total on-course golf.’’

For those who might question if off-course golf will drive on-course, “We now know that around two-thirds of today’s on-course beginners are coming to the course with off-course experience, compared to less than 40 percent five years ago,’’ Brewer said. “And already 10 percent of today’s total on-course players credit Topgolf for getting them to the golf course.’’

Revenue in Q4 of 2023, Topgolf’s increased $29.5 million ( 7.2%) to $439.0 million compared to Q4 of 2022. Topgolf finished 2023 the the company’s leading operating segment in terms of revenue – $1.76 billion – an increase of nearly 14 percent versus ‘22.

“Our new venues continue to perform extremely well,’’ Brewer said. “We also added one venue via acquisition in 2023, and in early January of this year, we purchased one additional venue from BigShots in Bryan, Texas, adjacent to Texas A&M University for approximately $7 million.

“We now own and operate 94 venues and have five Topgolf franchise locations and three BigShots franchisee locations. We expect to add another seven new Topgolf venues this year, two in the first half and five in the second half, for a total of eight new venues in 2024. We also expect to help open two international franchisee locations. For 2025, we’re expecting to return to opening 10 to 11 new owned venues.’’

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About the Author

<a href="https://golfonemedia.com/author/steve_pike/" target="_self">Steve Pike</a>

Steve Pike

Steve “Spike” Pike is a lifelong journalist whose career covers Major League Baseball, the NFL, and college basketball. For the past 26 years, Spike has been one of the more respected voices in the golf and travel industries, working for such publications as Golfweek, Golf World, and Golf Digest for The New York Times Magazine Group. In 1998, Spike helped launch the PGA.com website for the PGA of America. As a freelance travel and golf writer, Spike’s travels have taken him around the world. He has played golf from Pebble Beach to St. Andrews, walked the Great Wall of China, climbed an active volcano in the Canary Islands, been on safari in South Africa, and dived with sharks off Guadalupe, Baja California. Steve lives in Delray Beach, Fla, and posts his golf and travel content on his website at spikeongolfandtravel.com. He can be reached at spikee41@hotmail.com.