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.

Golfers

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 2018.

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0 Million

– Americans age 6+ -

played golf – both on-course and off-course – in 2018.

This includes 24.2 million people who played on a golf course and another 9.3 million who participated exclusively in off-course golf activities at places like driving ranges, indoor golf simulators or golf entertainment venues like Topgolf and Drive Shack.

The number of people who played on a golf course for the first time in 2018:

0 Million

matching last year as the highest single-year measurement on record.

The industry has had five straight years with more than 2 million beginners. By comparison, there were 1.5 million beginners in 2011. Prior to the past two years, the previous recorded-high of 2.4 million was set in 2000, when Tiger Woods was at the height of his popularity.

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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 five years. Interest in playing among non-golfing young adults is high, with more than 5.3 million saying they are "very interested" in taking up the game.

0 Million Juniors

played golf on a course in 2018, remaining relatively stable in relation to recent years, with the participation base fluctuating between 2.5 million and 3 million. This segment of the golf population is more diverse than ever before –

More than one-third

0%

of today's juniors are girls compared to 15% in 2000. Almost one-quarter of juniors are non-Caucasian while just 6% were minority participants 20 years ago.

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There were approximately

0 Million Female On-Course Golfers

(age 6+) in 2018.

The number of female golfers (adult and junior) has held study at approximately 6 million over the past five years.

0%

of golfers are women. Females represent a disproportionately higher percentage of beginners (31%), juniors (36%) and off-course participants (44%) than they do in the overall golf population.

Latent Demand

0 Million

people who didn’t play golf in 2018 said they are "very interested" in playing golf on a golf course.

A 15% increase in this pool of potential golfers over the past two years is attributable in part to the growth and popularity of off-course golf. Almost half of this untapped demand is comprised of "lapsed golfers" who played on a course previously, but not within the past year, while the rest are those who never played golf on a course before.

There are another 33 million who say they are "somewhat interested" in playing.

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Rounds Played

(Looking for monthly rounds played reports? Click here.)
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In total there were about

0 Million Rounds

of golf played on golf courses throughout the U.S. in 2018,

down 4.8% from 456 million in 2017, in part due to an abnormal weather year.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association said 2018 was the third-wettest year on record nationally and golf, as the No. 1 pay-for-play participation sport played outdoors, is particularly dependent on the weather.

In 2018, golfers played an average of

0 Rounds

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

The number of golfers age 65-and-over increased almost 17% to 4.2 million in 2018. This number should continue to increase as the balance of Baby Boomers, the youngest of whom are 54, cross this milestone. As they retire, they should continue to positively impact rounds for the next decade. Golfers who were 65 or over played an average of

0 Rounds

in 2018
Young Adults

Golfers in the 18-34 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 2018

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 Courses at

0 Golf Facilities

in the U.S. at the end of 2018

(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

0%

of facilities open to the public

(2,515 Municipal, 8,390 Daily Fee, 3,708 Private).
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Prior to 2006,

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

0%

Since 2006,

there has been a cumulative contraction of approximately

0%

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.

Almost

0

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

$0 Billion

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0 New Courses*

Opened in the U.S., including properties such as Mammoth Dunes and the 17-hole Sandbox par-3 course at Sand Valley Resort in Wisconsin; Sage Run at the Island Resort and Casino on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; the Ohoopee Match Club in Georgia; and Ozarks National at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri.

In 2018,

0 Courses*

reopened after being temporarily closed for major renovation (a minimum of nine holes closed for at least three months).

* measured in 18-hole equivalents
Membership

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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