Golf’s Impact On U.S. Economy Reaches $195 Billion In 2005

Released on : January 17, 2008

Updated GOLF 20/20 Study Shows 5-Year Average Annual Growth of 4.1 Percent

St. Augustine, FL, January 17, 2008 – A comprehensive new study, commissioned by the World Golf Foundation’s GOLF 20/20 initiative, has determined that golf in the United States generated $76 billion in direct economic impact in 2005, up significantly from $62 billion five years ago. The study, the 2005 Golf Economy Report, was conducted by SRI International. It was designed by the leadership of GOLF 20/20 as an update to a similar SRI study that measured the U.S. golf economy in 2000.

In addition to golf’s direct revenues, the 2005 Golf Economy Report presents for the first time the direct, indirect, induced and total economic impact of golf on the U.S. economy. The report indicates that golf generated a total economic impact of $195 billion in 2005, creating approximately 2 million jobs with wage income of $61 billion.

The five-year growth of approximately $14 billion represents an average annual growth rate of 4.1 percent, well ahead of the average annual inflation rate of 2.5 percent during the years 2000-2005. The increase primarily reflects growth in golf facility revenues, real estate and golf-related tourism.

The report also confirmed that, as first determined in the 2002 study, golf remains a very significant segment of the U.S. economy. At $76 billion in 2005 direct revenues, the U.S. golf economy is larger than the motion picture and video industries. At $28 billion, revenues from golf facility operations exceed facility revenues from all professional and semi-professional spectator sports combined.

As it did for 2000, the report identified the financial contributions from the game’s core segments, including golf facility operations ($28 billion); golf course capital investment ($3.6 billion); golfer supplies ($6.1 billion); tournaments, golf associations, and endorsements ($1.7 billion); and charities ($3.5 billion). Also included is the impact on “enabled” industries, such as hospitality/tourism ($18 billion) and real estate ($15 billion).

These totals represent increases over the 2000 numbers in each respective category, with the exception of a decline in golf course capital investment, a category that encompasses both existing facility capital investment and new golf course construction. The decline in this category was expected and reflects a slowing rate of golf course construction as part of the market’s correction to an oversupply of courses.

“This new report presents an encouraging picture for golf in the United States,” said David Fay, Chairman of the World Golf Foundation and Executive Director of the USGA. “Most of the game’s major segments continue to show a healthy pattern of steady growth. And, as the data clearly shows, this growth provides a strong underpinning to jobs, commerce, economic development and tax revenues for a large number of U.S. communities and industries.”

“This new data provides a roadmap for the continued growth and health of the golf industry in this country,” said Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation. “One of the most exciting developments of the last several years has been the ability to take the economic impact template for this national report and apply it at the state level. Already, we’ve seen a number of states begin to produce and publicize their own reports. This offers those states several important benefits, including an improved ability to secure public support for increased golf tourism promotion, as well as positively impacting legislation that can benefit golf facilities. We expect to see a significant increase in this research and reporting activity at the state level in this next five year period, which should certainly be reflected in the next U.S. Golf Economy Report.”

About the 2005 Golf Economy Report

The report was researched and written by SRI International, commissioned by GOLF 20/20, and funded through support from the Club Managers Association of America, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, Ladies Professional Golf Association, National Golf Course Owners Association, PGA of America, PGA TOUR and United States Golf Association.

About the World Golf Foundation and GOLF 20/20

GOLF 20/20 was created in 2000 to look toward the future of golf, and to determine strategic approaches to growing interest and participation, and maintaining its relevance and importance. Its mission is to galvanize the industry around strategic initiatives and grass roots activation to ensure the future vitality of the game, and it is supported by a consortium of associations, companies and other stakeholders. It is an initiative under the umbrella of the World Golf Foundation, along with the World Golf Hall of Fame, and The First Tee.

About SRI International

SRI International, formerly the Stanford Research Institute, is a non-profit research and consulting firm which has a rich history of conducting economic impact studies and economic-development analyses. Many of these efforts have involved development of custom models for economic impact measurement and involved the use of innovative approaches, such as in our previous study for the World Golf Foundation, The 2000 Golf Economy Report and in our assessment of the Global Impact of FedEx on the New Economy for FedEx Corporation. In addition, a number of SRI’s economic research and consulting assignments focus on the broader impact of tourism, a key element in the national and state-level golf economy studies.