Consumer Spending on Golf Continues to Drop

The average golf course in the U.S.  counts on consumers to play about 25,000 rounds on the greens. But the recession began to affect the industry in 2008 when the number of rounds played dropped 0.8%. Another decline of 1.1% was noted in 2009 which equated to about 300 fewer rounds being played per course and contributed to a drop in revenue.

These negative changes in the industry mean that the average facility earned a median 2009 revenue of $1.65 million, a drop of over $100,000 from the previous year.  Fewer rounds of golf being played also translated into lower revenue numbers for merchandise (-11%), fees (-5%) and food and beverage (-5%). States like HI, CA and FL also noted drops in tourist-​related golf activities.

One way golf courses can try to connect with existing and new players is through social media. The National Golf Foundation’s study on golfers and media use revealed that this demographic group is increasingly comfortable with social media.

  • Core golfers who use social networking of any type: 61%
  • Core golfers who use Facebook: 38%
  • Core golfers who use LinkedIn: 25%

Joe Beditz, NGF president and CEO, remarked that golfers of all ages can be found online and often comment on equipment they use and where they play. “Therefore, companies should be listening to what is being said about them, and joining the conversation," Beditz notes.

More golf courses and equipment companies may be increasing their social media efforts to build up the number of rounds played in 2010.

[Sources: Show, Jon. Golf rounds, equipment spending down in ’09, Sports Business Journal, 1.25.10; National Golf Foundation release, 2009] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.