The Graffis Report

A year of resurgence for the U.S. golf industry

The outlook coming into 2020 was already bullish – stabilization and evolution were the pervading macro trends, with on-course golfers hovering around 24 million for a sixth consecutive year, and off-course participation continuing to grow by double digits each year, thanks to the increasing popularity of golf entertainment venues, indoor simulators and other off-course outlets. This, alongside a deeper-than-ever pool of interested on-course prospects, gave reason for optimism in 2020.

The novel coronavirus pandemic presented both obstacles and opportunity, with spring shutdowns giving way to an unprecedented summer and fall in terms of rounds, golfer introductions and reintroductions, and robust consumer spending.

Report now available for FREE to NGF Members:

Non-members can purchase the 2020 industry overview here:

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Dig into data and trends impacting golf businesses.

As the industry’s leading independent and objective information resource, we provide our members with a wealth of golf research and insights on the game and business.

Golf on the Map

Explore golf’s geographic footprint through our interactive map to learn how many courses and golf-related businesses are in each state.

Looking for a specific course or business? Search our database.

2020 Industry Facts

24.8 Millon

people played on a golf course in 2020 (roughly 8% of the U.S. population age 6+)

12.1 Million

people only played golf off-course in 2020. (Golf entertainment, simulators, ranges)

501.8 Million

rounds of golf played in the U.S. in 2020, an uptick of more than 60M rounds from 2019.

16,165

golf courses at 14,145 total facilities (locations) in the U.S. at the end of 2020.

17 Million

non-golfers (age 6+) very interested in playing golf now - up 10% over 2019.

3 Million

people played golf for the very first time in 2020, a record number of beginners.

101 Million

Golf's total reach (including people who played, watched or read about golf in 2020) - nearly a third of the U.S. population.

$3.9 Billion

in annual fundraising through local, regional and national charitable events.

Reports & Publications

The NGF’s reports and publications are free to members, providing information and intel to make better-informed decisions. Browse our catalog, from annual reports on participation and golf course supply to more focused reports on key golfer segments and business categories.

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Just ask. We’ve learned a lot in our 80-year history and chances are we have insights that will help.

2021 Golf Participation in the US
2020 Golf Industry Report cover
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The NGF Q

The only publication for interested in the business of golf.

Expanding Rounds Played Research

The National Golf Foundation and Golf Datatech, LLC who for years have collaborated in providing the industry with monthly rounds played reports, are heightening their efforts to recruit more golf…

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March 2021 National Rounds Played

  National rounds played for March 2021 were up an estimated 45% over the same period a year ago, when the coronavirus first started impacting golf operations throughout the U.S.…

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Cleared for takeoff?

The comeback of commercial aviation is underway in the U.S., which no doubt bodes well for many in the golf business. Despite an increased willingness to trundle down the open…

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Pent Up Travel Demand Spurring Golf ‘Vax-cations’

The coronavirus pandemic has had unexpected benefits when it comes to the golf world: more play, new (or returning) faces on the golf course, and increased engagement and interest in…

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How Has Working From Home Affected Golf?

There’s no question working remotely has provided schedule flexibility to many people over the past year, eliminating commute times, providing employees greater control over when, where and how they work,…

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Harold Varner Sees Opportunity to ‘Give Back’ Through Youth on Course Partnership

  As the first national ambassador for Youth on Course, Harold Varner III is excited about an even greater opportunity to provide juniors the same kind of access to affordable…

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February Rounds Down; Indicators Still Good

The latest monthly rounds numbers are out and show something we haven’t seen in a while – a decline in play. But there’s a bit more to unpack as we…

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February 2021 National Rounds Played

  February rounds were down 4.7% nationwide compared to a year ago, when play for the month had been up 19% before the pandemic hit the U.S. Like January, February…

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Cracking the Code

There’s a multi-million dollar question floating around the industry these days: How do we retain more golfers, particularly in light of the extraordinary inflow of returners and first-timers in 2020…

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A Big Drop in Golf Course Closures

Is this the beginning of the end? Of golf’s 15-year market correction, that is. It might be. Last year, NGF recorded a net decline of 169 18-Hole Equivalent (18HEQ) golf…

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The most reliable source for golf industry information.

The NGF’s proprietary data and research is regularly cited by national news organizations in stories that highlight the health and vitality of the golf industry. See the latest buzz: