A National Perspective on the Current State of Golf

740 0
740 0
Register for a free webinar

Golf is a $102 billion industry, 20% larger than in 2016.

Thirteen thousand nine hundred forty-six facilities offer 15,945 golf courses in the United States.  There are 25.6 million golfers, of which 9.3 million are seriously committed to the game.  Seventy-five percent of golfers are male.  The average age of a golfer was 43.8, with a household income of $102,433 as of 2021.

The 515 million rounds played in 2022 represent a 16.0% increase from 2017 to 2019.  During the past three years, played among youth, black, Hispanic, and females have increased by 36%, 34%, 21%, and 15%, respectively.  Demand is showing no immediate material signs of weakening.  However, uncertainty did exist in January 2023 due to the specter of an economic recession and the growing emphasis on businesses requiring workers to return to the office.   Through July 31, 2023, rounds are up nationally by 5.0% compared to 2022.

Spurred by the Pandemic, the popularity of golf entertainment has expanded dramatically across the nation from 3 entertainment centers in 2006 to 80 entertainment centers in 2022.  There are over 500 businesses with golf simulators.  The presence of amusement centers, i.e., Top Golf, Drive Shack, Big Shot, and Top Tracer, attracted around 27.9 million people in 2022.  Top Tracer alone is installed at over 280 green grass facilities, which has seen range revenues soar.  Off-course golf options now attract more individuals than on-course.

Off-course options have created an environment that makes people want to play, provides a more approachable way for them to learn the game, provides the excitement of a good shot, and provides a sense of the requirements to play traditional golf.  Thus, societal values are now changing.

Golf has long been viewed as the elitest, expensive, and most time-consuming sport, as noted by Thorstein Veblen in his book, “The Theory of the Leisure Class,” in which he challenges some of society’s most cherished standards of behavior and exposes the hollowness of many of our canons of taste, education, dress, and culture.

There is now a brand revitalization regarding golf.  The off-course alternatives have given consumers confidence that golf while challenging, can also be fun, entertaining, and exciting.  As a result, the game is becoming more popular, fashionable, diverse, and approachable.

The off-course audience continues to grow at a high rate.  Still, the journey to green grass facilities remains full of logistical and emotional challenges: golf clubs and balls, golf apparel, and the recurring cost of green fees, carts, and range.

Sources;  Throughout this blog there are statistics accumulated from a diverse set of publications from Golf Datatech, National Golf Foundation Note, Wall Street Journal.

Join the Conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.