Golf facility investment spending reflects a healthy industry

  • Image: Marek/Adobe Stock

Although the total supply of golf courses nationwide has dropped some 10% in the last decade, golf facility investment spending has risen considerably to the tune of $9 billion, the National Golf Foundation reports.

Only 200 golf courses have opened in the last 10 years, and some have seen that figure as a bellwether for the state of the overall industry. However, the data from a 2020 NGF study shows that the opposite is true. While there may be fewer overall courses, the courses that are currently operating have spent a lot of time, money, and attention to renovate and reinvigorate their grounds and clubhouses. More opportunities exist than ever before to indulge in the golf habit, in almost any capacity one could desire, from simulators to real courses, alone or in groups, gamified to purest essence.

NGF Chart

Chart courtesy of National Golf Foundation

The study showed that almost 80% of public facilities and 85% of private clubs had spent resources on some form of course improvement or rehabilitation in the last five years. The changes in question ran the gamut from greens and fairway improvements to re-grassing and irrigation work, not to mention clubhouse renovations and improved practice facilities.

NGF’s Joe Beditz notes that this reinvestment is necessary because some 4,500 courses opened between 1986 and 2005, making the youngest of them 25 years old and due for necessary repairs and improvements. Nevertheless, many have taken the opportunity to make voluntary upgrades and additions.

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