Economic Impact of Golf in US Today


Author: Keri Schmit

A coalition of golf’s governing bodies and industry partners known as “WE ARE GOLF” unveiled its latest U.S. Golf Economy Report the end of April of this year. The study consisted of their analysis of data from the 2016 season — and their comparison to their last report in 2011 — included a lot of numbers, from big and small to positive and negative.

Major numbers noted in study:

20% — The increase in junior golf participation, which came out to roughly 500,000 kids. The increasingly diverse group reports 33% are girls and 33% are from non-white backgrounds — both record-high percentages.
737 — The net decline in total golf facilities.
2300+ — Number of “alternative golf facilities” (practice ranges, miniature golf, and indoor centers). Alternative facilities generated $1.131 billion (up from $907.1 million in 2011).
15,014 — Number of regulation golf facilities. 3,670 private and 11,344 public.

Golf’s contributions to America’s economy include:

​129,603 — Average dollars spent on capital investment (increased by $30,730). .
1.89 million — Jobs supported by the golf industry, buoyed by more than one million from “golf facility operations.”
2.5 million — Number of golfers who played for the first time (increased by 1.5 million).
12.8 million – The number of “latent golfers,” non-golfers interested in playing golf (nearly doubled).
23.8 million — Total number of golfers. Of those, 5.8 million (24%) were women and 4.6 million (19%) were non-white.
210 million — Dollars spent on new golf course construction. That’s down from $516 million in 2011 and WAY down from a high of $5.6 billion in 2000. Better news?
1.9 billion — Dollars spent on existing facilities (6% CAGR).
3.94 billion — Dollars raised for charity in 2016 through tournaments and other activities (up from $3.91B).
6 billion — Dollars spent on sales of golf equipment, apparel and supplies (1.4% CAGR).
7.2 billion — Dollars spent on new home construction in golf communities (18.5% CAGR).
25.7 billion — Dollars spent on golf-related tourism in the U.S. in 2016. (4.6% CAGR).
191.9 billion – Dollars supported by the industry in total activity for 2016.

“The many positive trends show how golf is vital to the prosperity of America’s economic and social well-being,” says Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation and administrator of WE ARE GOLF. “Increases in so many categories signify the health of golf has far-reaching influence across many sectors of the U.S. economy.”


Created in 2010, WE ARE GOLF is an industry coalition that promotes the economic, charitable and environmental impact of golf, as well as the game’s health and wellness, affordability and accessibility, to Members of Congress, the Executive Branch and regulatory agencies.  The goal of WE ARE GOLF is to ensure laws and regulations are fair and appropriate to an industry that in 2016 generated $84.1 billion in economic impact, 1.89 million jobs and $3.94 in charity fundraising.

  • NGF: National Golf Foundation
  • We Are Golf