Covid-19 Update from Bobby Jones Links
Insights from Bobby Jones Links

Our 2024 State Of The Industry Report

a golf course in the middle of a valley
Bobby Jones Links


Golf has been played for over 500 years. Google its origins, and you’ll find it predates the piano's invention. It’s a big business. Do you know there are over 14,000 green grass golf facilities and 1,600 or more off-course locations such as simulators and entertainment facilities in the United States? That’s more golf courses than Mc Donald's or even Starbucks? Or that golf raises nearly $4.6 billion for charity each year, more than the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, combined?

Today, golf is a $100 billion industry, driving 2 million jobs and $66 billion in wages and benefits. The industry generated nearly $200billion in annual activity when tourism and other golf related business is considered. The NationalGolf Foundation reports that of the 14,033 facilities in the U.S., 3,674 are private, 2,551 are municipal, and the balance, 7,808, are public courses. Of these, approximately 2,200 facilities are managed by third-party management companies like BobbyJones Links.

While 90 golf courses closed for various reasons, 32 new clubs opened, most high-end private, destination, or alternative courses (such as nine holes or less. Incredibly, and as a point of reference, 283 new courses were built in 2001, the high watermark of this century.


Almost 70% of public facilities rate their financial health as good or excellent compared to 23% in 2016. Among private facilities, it’s 73% today, compared to 46% in 2016. That’s quite a change.

Golf rounds were up 4% over 2022, with 528 million rounds played in the U.S., another high water mark. The majority of facilities now report being at or near capacity.

On-course participation rose again by 1 million golfers to

26.6 million. But gains and participation off the golf course were even greater. There are now 33 million off-course participants-people hitting balls at golf entertainment venues, in simulators or at driving ranges.

Women now account for 26% of on-course participants, the highest proportion ever. Women and girls represent 60% of the growth in golfers in the past five years. In an even more exciting change, people of color are now taking up the game in larger numbers than ever.

The National Golf Foundation reports public facilities have raised peak greens fees by 15% (cumulative) in the “pandemic era” after a decade of limited pricing power.

Increased capital investment continues. 62% of private operators surveyed are investing in the golf course, clubhouse, or technology to enhance the experience. 49% of public course operators have done so, with 10% of clubs investing more than $1 million.

Is This Growth Here to Stay?

The industry sentiment is yes. The pandemic is gone, but golf continues to grow and prosper for the first time in decades.

The most cited reasons are:

  • For the first time in years, 80% of the under-40 age demographic thinks golf is “cool.” In previous surveys, it was only 20%. This is a real change in their thinking about the game.
  • The Millennials are aging and now have more disposable income.
  • The work-from-home phenomenon enables golfers to play more weekday rounds.
  • The rise of technology in all facets of the game makes it


Download the 2024 State of the Industry
Keep up with us on social media!