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A Publication of the National Golf Foundation

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

The ‘Q’uestion
May 2018

by Erik Matuszewski

May 2018

NGF research shows that the number of “non-golfers” who categorize themselves as very interested in playing golf on a golf course increased to a record-high 14.9 million in 2017, up from 12.8 million a year earlier.

In taking a closer look at this vital latent demand segment, how many of these people actually have some previous golf experience?


Of the 14.9 Americans in the “very interested” latent demand category, 6.5 million of them have never played traditional golf on a course.

Another 8.4 million of them — or 56% — have past golf experience.

Because the NGF’s measure for golf participation asks whether people have played on a golf course within the past year, some of those that land in this category are considered infrequent or lapsed golfers. It could be that some in this “very interested” group are on hiatus from the game because of a new job, family addition or other life change. They might have only played once (or a couple of times) and haven’t had the opportunity to go back; or perhaps they enjoy the game, but find they only play every couple of years in a charity event or company outing.

Whether or not they have past golfing experience, this latent demand sector offers the promise of real opportunity for the industry.

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Erik Matuszewski

Erik is the Editorial Director for the NGF. Before joining the National Golf Foundation, he spent more than two decades with Bloomberg News, both as a writer and editor, with a focus on sports business and the golf industry. The New Jersey resident has also written about golf for outlets that include Forbes, LINKS and the Met Golfer.