Ping Distance to Fit Ad
ngf logo

Why Do You Play Golf?

(🔉 Click to listen to audio version)


There are plenty of reasons people play golf, with positives that have become even more apparent over the past few years. Amid the pandemic, the game has provided a mental, physical and social escape for millions of Americans at a time when they’ve needed it most.

In our latest consumer survey, we asked golfers what they’re most thankful for when it comes to the traditional game, recognizing that what gives a person reason to be appreciative is likely what drives them to participate in the first place.

As expected, the results reveal the widespread and generation-spanning appeal of one of our country’s most popular participation sports. (In fact, when it comes to pay-to-play outdoor sports, none has a bigger participant pool than the 25 million+ Americans who hit the golf course at least once this year.)

What’s particularly interesting is the differentiation in responses among age groups. (See Figure 1)

  • The younger the golfer, the more important the camaraderie and experiential benefits of golf.
  • The older the golfer, the more valuable the game is for providing exercise and fresh air.
  • For the 35-49 “sandwich generation,” golf can deliver a much-needed mental respite.


Overall, it’s the social benefits that rank highest in appreciation (and therefore importance) for the most golfers. That’s followed by golf’s mental and physical benefits. It’s a good reminder for those of us in the golf business that while competition fuels some of our most avid participants (and is what we see on TV), the majority of consumers are primarily driven to play by other reasons.

For our part, we’re grateful for your continued readership, and especially our members. Without your support, our ongoing research on behalf of the industry, and this newsletter, wouldn’t be possible.

Joseph Beditz
Form succesfully submited!
There was an error submitting the form, please try again or contact us
All fields are required

"*" indicates required fields


How can we help?

NGF Membership Concierge