How should the golf industry respond to coronavirus?

By: March 4, 2020

Michael Jacoby (CEO, Owner of Rheingolf Messe, Düsseldorf) has just told me that due to the fear of the coronavirus 65% fewer people participated in their event.

Furthermore, 5 of his exhibitors canceled their participation.

This is what he said exactly:

We lost 65% of our normal visitors due to hysteria and panic. At least we were open and had a show, while ITB and other fairs in Germany got canceled.

I understand and respect the fear of people. But fear is always a consequence of bad information. I blame the media for that and politicians who did not try to calm the situation.

We will now use our social media strength as well as our upcoming Rheingolf Cup with 51 tournaments during the season to spread news of our exhibitors.

Social and digital media will be on the side of our golf show. As the 1st of all European golf shows we launched the RHEINGOLF APP this weekend to enhance the RHEINGOLF PLATFORM of golf communication.”

This is why I am curious about what is the real effect of coronavirus on the global golf industry (including supply chain issues, golf tourism, etc.).

Instead of relying on my impression, I checked several sources to understand the severity of coronavirus. As I assumed the fear and the reactions to them are unjustified.

Let’s see what Google Search Trends is showing us:

Coronavirus in Google Searches

In Google Search, I found over 2.2 billion results for the coronavirus keyword.

Wordometer found:

  • 94,192 coronavirus cases;
  • 3219 deaths (ONLY 3.42% of coronavirus cases);
  • 51,187 people recovered from coronavirus.

The WHO says up until now only 3198 people died because of coronavirus.

I go further to prove to you that Michael Jacoby is right.


Coronavirus vs. flu? says in the U.S. alone, the flu has caused an estimated 32 million illnesses, 310,000 hospitalizations and 18,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

I don’t see any reason why to stock up canned goods, flour, sugar, and bottled water, etc. at home or in my office.

What I do recommend is to focus on

  • preemptive measures (e.g. cleaning yourself more frequently, taking vitamins, etc.);
  • collect reliable updates on the status of coronavirus in your country;
  • educate your guests and members about the coronavirus.

If we don’t get out of the coronavirus hysteria then it will hurt the entire golf industry:

  • golf retailers and manufacturers (+their supply chains);
  • golf resorts highly depending on international golf tourism;
  • golf events and trade shows (e.g. Swiss Golf Federation canceled its summit);
  • service provides (e.g. golf club rentals, golf club shipping providers, etc.)