Golf Industry Facts
Our NGF researchers have 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 America's golf consumer base.
Golf's overall reach is an estimated
More than one-third of the U.S. population over the age of 5 played golf (on-course or off-course), followed golf on television or online, read about the game, or listened to a golf-related podcast in 2023. This is up 30% since 2016.
The record number of people who played on a golf course for the first time in 2023:
The industry has had 10 straight years with more than 2 million beginners, with the past four topping 3 million. Prior to the pandemic-boosted totals of recent years, the previous recorded-high of 2.4 million was set in 2000, when Tiger Woods was at the height of his popularity. Off-course forms of golf -- such as entertainment golf venues -- are proving a valuable on-ramp for introductions, helping participants build confidence and comfort before visiting a golf course for the first time. Retention and conversion of newcomers remains an industry focus, and obstacle.
The category of young adults (18-34 year olds) is the sport's biggest customer age segment, with
on-course participants and another
off-course only participants.
The engagement within this demographic has remained steady for nearly a decade. Interest in playing among non-golfing young adults is high, with more than 7 million saying they are "very interested" in taking up the game.
0 Million Juniors
played golf on a course in 2023. This segment is more diverse than the overall golf population and has seen a 40% increase since 2019, the largest gains of any age group.
More than one-third
of today's juniors are girls compared to 15% in 2000. More than one-quarter of juniors are non-Caucasian while just 6% were minority participants just over 20 years ago.
There were approximately
0 Million Female On-Course Golfers
(age 6+) in 2023
The number of female golfers (adult and junior) has surpassed 6 million the past four years for the first time since prior to the financial crisis in 2007.
Since 2019, the net gain in female golfers is 1.4 million, a 25% increase.
of on-course golfers are women. Females represent a disproportionately higher percentage of beginners (41%), juniors (37%) and off-course participants (41%) than they do in the overall golf population.
people didn’t play golf in 2023 but indicate they are "very interested" in playing golf on a golf course. This is a measure NGF terms "latent demand."
The 45% increase in this pool of potential golfers since 2019 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 have been more than 500 million rounds played in the U.S. each of the past four years.
There were a record 531 million rounds played in 2023, surpassing the previous high of 529 million set in 2021.
Rounds are trending more than 10% ahead of the five-year, pre-pandemic average from 2015-19.
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 nearly
0 Golf Courses at
0 Golf Facilities
in the U.S. at the end of 2023.
That's more golf courses nationwide than Starbucks or McDonald's stores.