The 9-Hole Economic Indicator Index


So many pundits. So many indicators on the state of the economy.

I’ll throw a new one into the mix. It’s the Chamber Golf League Alternate Demand (CGLAD) Economic Indicator.

Economics, like politics, is local. The Lehigh Valley (about 50 miles north of Philadelphia) has a very active Chamber of Commerce…more than 5,000 members.

The Small Business Council of the Chamber directs the Golf league. This year we had 56 players on 28 teams, competing in four divisions ranked by skill level. It’s a weekly 9-hole league with 10-weeks of competition on Wednesday afternoons. The league also had a short roster of alternate players: I was one of seven alternates.

Chamber Golf League Alternate Walter Sanders

We alternates enjoy a discounted registration fee, but we only play when regular team players cannot. I like the networking variety of playing for different teams in different divisions. Yeah, I save a few bucks on the lower registration fee, but also risk not being able to tee it up unless an alternate is needed.

I’ve been an alternate every year since 2007. I recall 2007 and 2008 as miserable. In those years I missed 4 and 5 weeks respectively as regular players had the time to play every week. My playing activity has increased every year since 2009. The just-concluded 2012 season was awesome from an alternate’s point of view.

I had four dates booked before the season even started in April. I was busy every week, often fielding multiple calls and emails for teams looking for an alternate. People weren’t calling because I’m a stellar player…I’m not.

Besides vacations, illness, a kid’s softball tournament, they were calling because they were getting busy with work. They had meetings they couldn’t miss, new business to handle, unexpected opportunities to leverage, conferences to attend. All the other alternates this year were also in demand.

There’s still a lot of grousing about the economy, but its improving to the point where Chamber members sacrifice the golf league to take care of business. And I picked up a couple of great leads as well.

So add the CGLAD index to the lexicon of economic forecasting. The demand for Chamber golf league alternates is an economic indicator.

Have you any observations about leading and lagging economic indicators? Please comment.

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  • Dcrowley

    I agree with you association of “business busy” with lack of playing time. I was a regular player and opted out with the thought of being an alternate. I held off on signing up as an alternate and found myself “asked” on several occasions to consider joining “late” due to the “lack” of alternates available! One banker, who is a regular, claimed he had to forfeit 3 times due to lack of alternates available! Business is back!!

    • walter

      Thanks, Dan. I think you’re right on target!

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