Number of U.S. private clubs at 4,050

Donning its green eye shades, the National Golf Foundation has tallied 4,050 private clubs in the United States, an 8 percent decline from the number (4,400) counted in 2008.

The decline is only incidentally a function of a rotten economy, the NGF believes, and more a result of desperate revenue-seeking clubs opening up to the public. “Since 2008,” the group has concluded, “more than 400 changed their operating model from exclusively serving members and their guests to opening their doors (some a little, some a lot) to public play.”

One other noteworthy fact: The NGF reports that the nation’s private golf clubs now have roughly 1.9 million members, a number it describes as “significantly below peak.”

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