Travel and Leisure Golf closes after ad sales shank in hard economy

American Express Publishing’s Travel and Leisure Golf has ceased operations. The March/April 2009 issue, on newsstands now, will be the bimonthly’s last.

Golf had an average qualified circulation of 637,048 as of December 2008, per the BPA. Of those, 443,001 were non-paid cop­ies. Readers were predominantly male, with an average age of 51.4 and average house­hold income of $286,775. Like many of the magazines that have shuttered over the past few months, Travel and Leisure Golf blames the harsh economy for its downfall.

“We are unable to sustain the business in this advertising climate,” said Jill Davi­son, VP of corporate communications for American Express Publishing.

For the full year of 2008 vs. 2007, ad pages in Golf were down 13.9%, to 437.81. Comparatively, Condé Nast’s Golf for Women experienced a 7.6% drop in its ad pages between the first half 2007 and 2008 before being shuttered in July.

Paying Golf subscribers will receive copies of Travel and Leisure — which has a 950,000 rate base — until their subscriptions are filled. Readers will be informed of the switch through direct mail in the coming weeks.

American Express has not announced any plans for the magazine’s corresponding Web site or its events business. The T and L Golf Players Club, an affinity group, is expected to remain operational.

Travel and Leisure Golf had 18 employees, who may or may not be placed elsewhere in the company. Davison said, “We are using all available resources to place these employees where we can,” but would not elaborate further.

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