The Masters is just weeks away and the top male golfers in the world will soon be driving down the famed Magnolia Lane in Augusta, GA to test their skills on the hallowed grounds that Bobby Jones built. Corporate execs and golf fans worldwide will be tuned into this rite of passage that signifies the welcoming of spring and the beginning of the golf season.
While this occasion is always welcomed, there’s been an undercurrent within the golf industry since the calendar page turned to 2009. Our sport has been under the microscope with media backlash given the tremendous amount of negativity around sponsorship of the sport emanating from lawmakers inside the beltway. I am sure you saw the headlines about Northern Trust and the sentiment that “golf is bad”. Well, I’d like to share with you some straight facts about the golf industry.
Golf employs two million Americans, 3.5 times the number of workers for the Big 3 automakers with an annual wage impact of $61B. What’s more, the U.S. golf industry generates direct economic impact of $76B annually including $3.5B for charity – and this is according to the latest study; the 2005 Golf Economy Report commissioned by Golf 20/20. Truly, the golf industry is more than about playing the sport of golf. Golf courses are managed open green spaces that provide jobs, tourism dollars, tax revenues, recreational benefits and they lift the value of real estate adjacent to golf courses, plus they are efficient uses of water.
So, when you tee it up next, along with thinking about your swing, your companions and the beauty of the out of doors, take a moment to appreciate the great and varied contributions golf makes to your community and our society as a whole.