Slow Growth for the Golf Course Industry

I’ve never been interested in golf until I started watching tournaments with my dad and my brother during family visits. I’m learning more about the game, the new batch of players, and the golf courses themselves. Last week I learned the Trinity Forest Golf Club (TX) course is windswept, without trees, and the green is very undulated. Yesterday, I understood that conditions at the Colonial Country Club in Ft. Worth (no wind and spongy turf) made for easier golfing. 

While it’s fun to watch the pros, it appears the golf course industry isn’t faring so well. Increasing numbers of Americans are giving up golf, and some clubs are growing desperate to keep their membership levels up. 

According to the National Golf Foundation, at the beginning of 2016 there were 11,388 public facilities and 3,816 private golf clubs, but the number of courses is declining.[1]The NGF reports 211 golf courses in the US permanently closed in 2016, and 15 opened. The NGF’s Greg Nathan called the decline a “natural market correction’’ because 20-year building boom that started in 1986 produced a glut of golf courses.[2]

IBISWorld forecasts industry revenue will increase at an annualized rate of 0.6% during the period 2018 through 2022.[3]  First Research is more optimistic, forecasting golf course industry revenue will grow at an annual compounded rate of 3% during the same period.[4]


[1]ClubCorp Holdings, Inc. Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. February 27, 2017.

[2]Brittany Wallman. “Golf courses declining as hundreds of homes rise.” Sun-Sentinel. March 23, 2017.

[3]Anya Cohen. Golf Courses & Country Clubs in the US. IBISWorld Inc. October 2017.

[4]Golf Courses. First Research. November 20, 2017.