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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.

Arizona Judge: Adding mask mandates ban to budget bill is unconstitutional

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

An Arizona judge ruled Monday that the state's ban on mask mandates in schools, and other measures put into the state budget by Republicans, are unconstitutional, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The sweeping ruling voids a ban on vaccine requirements for public universities, community colleges and local governments, and strikes down some non-COVID-related measures like a ban on teaching critical race theory in classrooms and anti-fraud measures for ballots.

Activision to set up $18M victims fund in response to harassment suit

Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Activision Blizzard announced plans Monday to settle a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hours after it was filed.

Why it matters: This is Activision's most visible acknowledgment of problems at the company, in the wake of a series of workplace misconduct lawsuits, complaints and investigations initiated against the "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft" maker since the summer.