No other sport has the spatial requirements of golf.
The footprint for an 18-hole course, on average, exceeds 150 acres. So how much land (by acreage) in the contiguous U.S. is devoted to golf courses?
Answer: Golf courses comprise about 2 million acres out of the 1.9 billion acres in the 48 contiguous states, which Bloomberg recently visually represented in the above land-use map. Golf, fittingly, is located where South Carolina is on the map.
Look closely and you’ll see the nation’s almost 14,800 golf facilities have a larger geographic footprint than industries like maple syrup, tobacco and flowers, while the collective golf course land is about two-thirds the size of that devoted to railroads or airports.
The Bloomberg study, which can be found here, divided the country into six different uses for land:
- Pasture/Range (~ 34%)
- Forest (~ 28%)
- Cropland (~ 21%)
- Special Use (~ 9%)
- Urban (~ 4%)
- Miscellaneous (~ 4%)
Golf courses land in the miscellaneous category, with rural residential properties. Also falling into this classification are marshes, deserts, cemeteries and other areas deemed “low economic value.”
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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.