Golf holds a unique place among the most popular US sports in terms of how much Americans play and spend on the game – on and off the course. A new study, published in conjunction with May 15,th The annual National Golf Day shows golf has a direct economic impact of nearly $102 billion on the US economy, up 20% from previous results in 2016 ($84 billion).
Hundreds of representatives from leading golf organizations gathered in Washington DC to meet with members of the US Congress and to highlight not only the widespread economic benefits of golf, but also the social, environmental and health contributions of the game. National Golf Day marked the official return of the Congressional Golf Caucus to the US Congress, and the bipartisan group, led by Reps. Nancy Mace (R-SC), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Richard Hudson (R-NC) , will work with colleagues to explore opportunities to further grow the golf game and business in the United States and abroad.
The new Economic Impact Study, commissioned by the American Golf Industry Coalition and conducted by the National Golf Foundation, shows that in addition to the nearly $102 billion direct impact on the US economy, the indirect and secondary impacts of golf bring that total to over $226 billion. The game of golf supports over 1.65 million jobs, including more than a million directly related to the industry.
The report captures the revenue generated by one of the nation’s premier participatory sports at nearly 14,000 US golf facilities, not to mention the billions of dollars golfers spend annually on equipment, apparel, tuition and other services. Approximately 1 in 7 Americans actively participates in golf in some form, while the overall reach of the game (including watching, streaming and/or reading about it) accounts for about a third of the population.
Add to this the financial impact of millions of Americans who travel, make side purchases, and buy or build golf-related homes. In addition, the report describes the ongoing capital investments in golf facilities, the significant revenues from tournaments, associations and sponsorships, and the strong positioning of golf as a fundraising vehicle. Notably, golf raised nearly $4.6 billion for various charities in 2022, up from $3.9 billion in 2016 and a total that represented nearly 1% of all charitable giving in the US
In addition to celebrating the outsized economic impact of golf, National Golf Day also explores the role of the game as a common good – one that contributes to physical, mental and social well-being – and how the industry is diversifying and its efforts to sustainability strengthened.
Notably, alternative forms of golf such as Topgolf and similar golf entertainment venues have helped push the game’s total attendance to over 41 million (up from 32 million in 2016), while the traditional on-course golfer’s pool now has a higher proportion of women and than people of color ever before in history.
In terms of environmental efforts, including preserving green spaces, improving air quality and providing important habitats for plants and animals, the gulf industry has reduced its overall water use by 29% since 2005. Some National Golf Day attendees participated in a community service project across the National Mall in partnership with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and the National Park Service that included seeding, mowing, mulching, trimming, replanting and other landscaping .
Golf has seen a strong resurgence in the years since the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, with annual increases in attendance on and off the course and record or near-record numbers in annual rounds of golf being played nationwide.
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