The National Golf Foundation (NGF), the trade organization that works with every sector within the golf industry, today released its new Golf Industry Report, a comprehensive state-of-the-industry overview.
The report compiles many of the game’s key data points in a single publication and is intended to provide the most holistic view of the business of golf and the health of the game to stakeholders and the media. The GIR includes the latest NGF data on golf participation, engagement, rounds-played, golf course supply and development, retail supply, golf equipment sales, and golf’s reach.
Golf’s participation base remains stable, with an estimated 23.8 million people who played golf on a course in 2017 — the same as a year earlier. Another 8.3 million played exclusively off-course at facilities like Topgolf, driving ranges or in indoor simulators, putting the game’s overall participant pool at more than 32 million.
The number of U.S. non-golfers who said they are now “very interested” in playing at a golf course hit a new measured high, at 14.9 million. This represents a 16% jump over 2016 and the continued increase in latent demand helped boost the number of golf newcomers (2.6 million) for the fourth year in a row.
There were 456 million rounds of golf played in 2017, an average of 19 rounds per golfer. Total golf course supply declined by 1.5%, with the opening of 15.5 new 18-hole equivalent golf courses and 205.5 course closures, in a continuation of a correction in supply and demand. The U.S. remains the best-supplied golf market in the world with 14,794 facilities, 75% of which are open to all players.
Other 2017 highlights from the Golf Industry Report:
• There are almost 20 million committed golfers who account for approximately 95% of all rounds-played and spending.
• The average price paid for an 18-hole round at public golf facilities is $34.
• Juniors (6-17) and young adults (18-34) comprise more than 37% of all on-course golfers, with 2.7 million junior participants and 6.2 million young adults. These groups make up 69% of the off-course only participant pool.
• There are 5.8 million women who played golf on a course in 2017. Women account for 24% of the on-course golfer base and 41% of off-course only play.
• Newcomers to golf are increasingly diverse: 35% are female, 26% are non-Caucasian and 70% are under the age of 35.
• The number of golfers age 65-and-over increased 13% to 3.6 million in 2017. This number will continue to increase as the balance of Baby Boomers cross this milestone.
• Golf’s total reach of 97.6 million people in the U.S. is comprised of 32.1M total golf participants plus 65.5M who watched and/or read about golf, but didn’t play on or off course. This represents about one-third of the U.S. population (age six-plus) and is 3% greater than 2016.
For further information and context on the 2018 Golf Industry Report, please visit The Q (thengfq.com).
“We’re excited to present a single state-of-the-industry report, encompassing golf’s key metrics, on behalf of our members and the industry we serve,” NGF President and CEO Joe Beditz said. “This information is enhanced and driven by a significant increase in our investment in consumer research.”
NGF members can download a copy of the 2018 Golf Industry Report at ngf.org.