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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With the Masters' first-ever November start just three days away, it's a great time to look back on 2020's golf boom.

Why it matters: Golf was a physical and mental safe haven for millions of Americans with cabin fever this year, and even moderate retention of the sport's newcomers could help buoy an entire industry for years to come.

By the numbers:

  • More rounds: September saw a 25.5% increase in the number of rounds played year-over-year — the fifth straight month to surpass last year's totals.
  • More sales: Equipment sales increased 42% year-over-year in the third quarter to just over $1 billion. It was the industry's second-best quarter ever.

The backdrop: When everything shut down in March, major golf organizations formed Back2Golf and began lobbying governors to allow courses to reopen.

  • By May, they'd worked with the CDC to devise return-to-play guidelines for the socially-distant sport (i.e. no rakes in bunkers, raised cups).
  • In June, the PGA Tour became one of the first professional sports to resume in the U.S.

The big picture: This boom was great for the golf industry in a year when so many businesses were lucky to even tread water, but it should also help grow the sport beyond the pandemic's lifespan.

  • The National Golf Foundation estimates the number of junior golfers could increase by 20% (500,000) by year's end, and new or lapsed golfers also increased 20% in H1, per WashPost.

Go deeper

Cyber Monday sets record for biggest online shopping day in U.S. history

Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Americans spent $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday this year, making it the largest online shopping day in U.S. history, according to Adobe Analytics data reported by CNBC.

Why it matters: The surge in online shopping comes as the pandemic has accelerated the decline of Black Friday shopping at traditional brick-and-mortar stores, which saw in-store traffic plunge by roughly 50% compared with last year, according to data from RetailNext and Sensormatic Solutions.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

The latest: Lawyers for James and Jennifer Crumbley told the Detroit News they are "returning to the area to be arraigned," after law enforcement officials announced a search for the Crumbleys had been initiated.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.