Golf, and golf and country clubs, are not going away. The rumors of their demise are wrong. Golf has been played for over 500 years. Google its origins and you’ll find in predates the invention of the piano. It’s a big business. Do you know there are more than 14,000 golf courses in the United States, more than McDonalds or Starbucks? Or that golf raises almost $4 billion for charity each year, more than the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, combined?
Golf is a $90 billion industry driving 1.89 million jobs and $58.7 billion in wages and benefits. The industry generated $191.9 billion in total annual activity when tourism and other golf related business is considered. We know the pandemic was good for golf and the growth in rounds, up 14% in 2020 and going over the historical highwater mark of 500 million U.S. golf rounds in 2021.
Approximately three million people began playing golf last year and 75% of those were adults. In more good news, the National Golf Foundation reported peak rates and fees increased an average of 11%. In 2020, As the Baby Boomers continue to reach retirement age, the size of the over age 65 golfers expands commensurately. It’s up 50% or 4.8 million golfers in just the past four years. And with 10,000 Boomers turning 65 every single day, it will keep growing for another six years.
More interesting and useful facts you should know are:
Despite the many positive signs, operating a successful and thriving golf or country club remains a very challenging prospect. According to the National Golf Foundation, only 45% of the over 14,000 golf facilities in the U.S. are profitable. Put another way, 55% are not.
Too many boards work "in" the business of their club instead of "on" it." Strategy is hard, but operations is easier," yet this is why board members meddle in the day-to-day affairs, sending conflicting messages to the club's staff.
This mistake has gone beyond a trend and now is endemic in private club management. Effective boards focus on the high level issues and focus on the club's future, leaving personal agendas and politics out of the equation.
The Bobby Jones name can be an asset to your club, but that’s not our focus. We realize every club is unique and its brand is special, which is why it is about you, not us, and why we always work in the background.