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A Publication of the National Golf Foundation

Questions, Answers and Insights for Everyone Interested in the Business of Golf


Rethinking the Retention Question

One of the overarching questions prompted by increased golf engagement over the past 18 months is whether the industry will be able to hold on those new golfers who have taken up the sport. But our research shows a notable difference between retention and conversion.
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Play It Forward – Ten Years Later

NGF’s recent survey of Core golfers indicated 73% recalled Tee It Forward, but a much smaller percentage actually moved up in recent years. Here’s what they found, and what’s keeping others from moving forward a tee.
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Golf Around the World

Based on research from the NGF’s definitive international facility database, the R&A's biennial Golf Around the World Report is back and counts golf courses in 206 of the world’s 251 countries -- with more than 38,000 courses globally.
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October 2021 National Rounds Played Report

October rounds for 2021 come close to matching the strong national momentum from the previous year

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Amid Beginner Influx, Where Are the Introductory Golf Programs for Adults?

There have been a record number of beginning golfers the past two years, yet when one thinks of introductory programs, the tendency is to think of the industry’s many junior initiatives. But the reality is that almost 75% of beginning golfers are adults. That begs the question of where are all the adult-specific beginner programs?

2 min read

September 2021 National Rounds Played Report

September 2021 rounds dipped after a 25% gain a year ago, as expected, but how much were they off the 2020 pace?

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August 2021 National Rounds Played Report

August rounds were slightly down nationwide compared to last year’s summer surges, as expected.

< 1 min read

In Spring of 2020, more than half of U.S. golf courses were temporarily closed due the coronavirus, seasonality or a combination of the two. By June, more than 98% of facilities had reopened and surges in play followed as golf was embraced as a safe, healthy outdoor sport that could be played by participants of all ages despite the pandemic. Through the end of the year, more than 75 million additional rounds were played nationwide than the same seven-month stretch in 2019. 

Currently open

Not yet open or operations suspended temporarily

Non-sampled golf facilities

The map above represents a sample of approximately 10% of all golf courses in the U.S., and is intended to provide perspective as to the geography of courses that are either open or have temporarily suspended golf operations.

While not representative of a complete view of golf course availability, it is the most nationally representative sample of courses available in the industry -- one that includes daily fee, private, municipal, resort and residential communities.

Trend in Course Openings

Less than 50% of golf courses were open to play for more than a month during the height of the coronavirus pandemic -- a combination of governmental efforts (state and local) to reduce the spread of the virus as well as seasonality (wintry weather in the northernmost parts of the country).

The percentage steadily increased from the last week of April through mid-May as more than a dozen states lifted bans on golf while others -- most notably California and Florida -- eased significant local restrictions. By early June, no states had restrictions on play.

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Women in Golf – Progress and Opportunity

Seven years ago, the proportion of all female golfers was 27%. Since then, the volume of female participants has grown by 43%. And more opportunity exists.

2 min read

Nobody Played More Golf In 2020 Than This Texas Retiree

As golf provided an escape from daily coronavirus anxiety for millions of Americans in 2020, nobody played more than 61-year-old Texas resident Barry Gibbons.

7 min read

Cracking the Code

There’s a multi-million dollar question floating around the industry these days: How do we retain more golfers, particularly in light of the extraordinary inflow of returners and first-timers in 2020 (+27% vs. ‘19)?

3 min read

Golf Courses

New Normal or Old Normal?

Whether golfer demand or equipment sales, trends suggest a return to where the golf industry was pre-financial crisis of 2007–08 rather than a “new normal”

2 min read

Golf is Getting Off Course

As golf’s overall participation base has increased, we’re left with three closely-sized and mutually-exclusive groups.

< 1 min read

A Big Drop in Golf Course Closures

There was a 31% decline in 18HEQ course closures in 2020, the largest drop on record. Could golf be approaching the end of its 15-year market correction?

3 min read

General Interest

Golf Travel Shows Signs of Roaring Back

Limitations on golf trips in 2020 have created a bottled-up demand to return to golf travel. NGF surveyed golfers and resort operators to quantify the interest.

4 min read

How Has Working From Home Affected Golf?

Working remotely has provided greater schedule flexibility for many people over the past year. It’s also had a significant impact on golf.

< 1 min read

Golf KPIs for 2020

A shot in the arm: Something that has a sudden and positive effect on something,…

4 min read

NGF News & Reports

NGF’s State-of-Industry Graffis Report Now Available

NGF’s Graffis Report, a overview of an unprecedented year for the golf business in 2020, is now available for NGF members.

3 min read

NGF New Members – December 2020

The NGF extends a warm welcome to the newest members of its growing community, both facilities and businesses.

3 min read

NGF New Members – November 2020

The NGF extends a warm welcome to the newest members of its growing community, both facilities and businesses.

4 min read