Golf Industry Facts

We’ve measured the health and vitality of the U.S. golf industry for more than 80 years.  Through the support of our members, we’re able to provide golf’s stakeholders with accurate and timely information that helps everyone in golf become smarter about the industry in which they operate.


Golf participation is a core measure of golf’s vitality.  NGF closely tracks how many people play the game, as well as the demographic composition of golfing America.

An estimated

0 Million

– one out of every three Americans age 6+ -

played golf (on-course or off-course), watched the sport on television or read about it in 2017.


0 Million

– Americans age 6+ -

played golf – both on-course and off-course – in 2017.

This includes 23.8 million people who played on a golf course and another 8.3 million who participated exclusively in off-course golf activities at places like driving ranges, indoor golf simulators or golf entertainment venues like Topgolf.

In 2017, the number of people who played on a golf course for the first time rose to

0 Million

the highest single-year measurement on record.

By comparison, there were 1.5 million beginners in 2011. The previous recorded-high of 2.4 million was set in 2000, when Tiger Woods was at the height of his popularity.


The category of young adults (18-34 year olds) is the sport's biggest customer age segment, with

0 Million

on-course participants and another

0 Million

off-course only participants.

The engagement within this demographic has remained steady for the past four years and interest in playing among non-golfing young adults is high, with more than 5.6 million saying they are "very interested" in taking up the game, up from 5.1 million a year ago.

0 Million Juniors

played golf on a course in 2017, remaining relatively stable in relation to recent years. This segment of the golf population is more diverse than ever before –

More than


of junior golfers are girls, up from 17% in 1995, and 27% are non-Caucasian, a jump from 6% in 1995.


There were approximately

0 Million Female On-Course Golfers

(age 6+) in 2017, a total that’s increased


over the past six years.


of golfers are women, with the two biggest age groups being in the 18-29 and 30-39 categories.

0 Million

people who didn’t play golf in 2017 said they are "very interested" in playing golf on a golf course.

Up from 12.8 million people in 2016. The increase is attributable in part to the growth and popularity of off-course participation.


Rounds Played

(Looking for monthly rounds played reports? Click here.)

In total there were about

0 Million Rounds

of golf played on golf courses throughout the U.S. in 2017,

down 2.7% from the year before.

Note that fluctuations of 2%-3% in rounds played are typical, due to golf’s dependency on weather (especially in high volume states like Florida, the Carolinas, Texas, and California).

In 2017, golfers played an average of

0 Rounds

An up close image of a golf club next to a ball on tee
Baby Boomers

The youngest Baby Boomers are only 54 years old. As they retire, they should continue to positively impact rounds for the next 10 years. Golfers who were 65 or over played an average of

0 Rounds

in 2017
Young Adults

Golfers in the 18-29 age range played less frequently than boomers - a likely byproduct of increased demands on their time and involvement with a variety of other activities. This segment averaged

0 Rounds

in 2017

Golf Course Supply

Since our start in 1936, we’ve kept tabs on every golf course in the U.S.  As the go-to source of golf supply information, our team verifies golf courses every day, identifying which are open, which closed and any new projects in development.  Not only do stakeholders benefit from knowing how many golf courses there are, they also get insight into the balance of public and private golf in the U.S., playing fees and more.

There were

0 Golf Facilities

in the U.S. at the end of 2017

(a facility is defined as a business location where golf can be played on one or more golf courses).

Golf is more accessible than ever, with


of facilities open to the public

(2,497 Municipal, 8,542 Daily Fee, 3,755 Private).
Prior to 2006,

there was a 20-year expansion cycle where U.S. golf course supply grew by


Since 2006,

there has been a cumulative contraction of approximately


which has been disproportionately concentrated in value-priced courses (less than $40 greens fee).

Investment in golf courses remains significant with major course renovations replacing new construction as the focus of investment.



major golf course renovations have been completed since 2006, representing an estimated total investment of

$0 Billion


0 New Courses*

opened in the U.S., including Streamsong Black in Florida, Shepherd’s Rock in Pennsylvania and Bayou Oaks in Louisiana.

In 2017,

0 Courses*

reopened after being temporarily closed for major renovation.

* measured in 18-hole equivalents

Join Our Community. Support Your Industry.

People join the NGF because they believe in being smarter about the golf industry.  They want to stay on top of trends and have access to the industry’s most accurate and objective measures of the game’s vitality. Joining the NGF means connecting with a community of like-minded individuals who support the NGF’s efforts to influence golf’s long-term success. Memberships underwrite the many research projects and publications that NGF produces on behalf of the industry.

Contact us for more information.

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