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.
Members can access the annual "Graffis Report," our holistic golf industry overview, by clicking HERE.
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 2022. This was up 12% year-over-year.
– Americans age 6+ -
played golf – BOTH on-course and off-course – in 2022.
This record-setting total includes 25.6 million people who played on a golf course and another 15.5 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 record number of people who played on a golf course for the first time in 2022:
The industry has had nine straight years with more than 2 million beginners, with the past three 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. 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 6 million saying they are "very interested" in taking up the game.
0 Million Juniors
played golf on a course in 2022, its highest level since 2006. The 900,000 rise over the past three years is the most significant (a 36% jump) of any on-course participation segment. This segment remains more diverse than the overall golf population.
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 2022
The number of female golfers (adult and junior) has surpassed 6 million the past three years for the first time since prior to the financial crisis in 2007.
Since 2019, the net gain in female golfers is 800,000, a 14% 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 2022 but indicate they are "very interested" in playing golf on a golf course. This is a measure NGF terms "latent demand."
The 40% increase in this pool of potential golfers over the past five 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.
Play increased significantly in the U.S. in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
While 2022 was down about 4% year-over-year from 2021's record high, it still ranks among the top four years for U.S. play on record.
The 2022 rounds total still finished up 13% versus 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 2022.
That's more golf courses nationwide than Starbucks or McDonald's stores.
(a facility is defined as a business location where golf can be played on one or more golf courses).
Golf remains broadly accessible, with about
of facilities open to the public
(2,500+ Municipal, 7,700 Daily Fee+)
Prior to 2006,
there was a 20-year expansion cycle where U.S. golf course supply grew by
there has been a cumulative contraction of approximately
which has been disproportionately concentrated in value-priced courses (less than $40 greens fee).
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