man standing beside man holding gray golf club
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Listening To Sam Torrance commentating at the British PGA at Wentworth recently I was fascinated to hear him mention the origins of foursomes. Sam talked about how the price of a golf ball back in the day was equivalent to around 3 month’s wages. This meant that a form of golf where 2 players shared the 1 golf ball was a smart economical move. Foursomes was that game and thus it was born at clubs like Muirfield. Where, according to Sam’s account it is still played more often than other forms of competitive golf by the members in true Scottish fashion. The economics of golf impacts the game in many ways and has done over the journey.

two man standing near golf clubs
Photo by Jopwell on

Golf Economics: The Business Behind Playing

Most of us who love the game of golf do so because we play it. This may sound like stating the obvious but there is a business side to golf and a few folk are actively involved in this sector. Golf economics: The business behind playing is a look at the facts and figures that make up the golf industry. In this article I will be crunching the numbers to see what we will find. All those shiny and new clubs and accessories are the life blood of the game in economic terms. The manufacturers must sell their gear to us golfers for the wheels to keep turning in the business of golf.

Pro shops and golf stores everywhere have an important part to play in maintaining the momentum of golf in a competitive sporting and recreational landscape.

Golfers vintage drawing
Golfers vintage drawing by The British Library is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

Golf The Game & Golf The Business

Golf is a wonderful game, but a challenging one. 18 holes, 14 clubs, and a handful of balls. A game played on a beautiful strip of land, where nature abounds in harmony with a course designer’s vision of golfing splendour. The small dimpled ball goes on a journey directed and propelled by the player. Swinging a golf club and navigating the golf course are not always synchronistic activities. There are highs and lows, triumphs and disasters, but it is always engaging.

Golf is continually being rewarded with innovative technologies in the equipment sphere. Golfers get to recharge their batteries via the latest driver, irons, and putter. Many of us turn to new golf gear with hope in our heart that these talismans might just transform our game. Whatever the outcome, we love our golf just the same.

Golf court photo

New wunderkinds like Ludvig Aberg regularly come along to thrill us all but especially the young. The next generation are inspired by their remarkable efforts on the golf course and in tournaments. They want to know whose clubs they are using and gold dust is associated with this brand or that. Titleist, Ping, Callaway, and Taylor Made are all top golfing brands sponsoring champion players.

The Ryder Cup is just about to begin in Rome – and this will fire up golfers everywhere. New superstars will be strutting their stuff in team colours with patriotic flags flying in the hands of thousands of fans.

Free beautiful golf field photo

American Golf Economics

“A recent study prepared  by  TEConomy  Partners,  LLC, in  agreement  with  GOLF  20/20 and supported by allied  national  golf  organizations such as Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA),  Indo-American Golf Association (IAGA),  Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA),  National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA),  PGA  of  America,  PGA  TOUR,  and  United States Golf Association reported the overall quantitative economic impacts of the golf industry in the United States. Below is the summary of economic figures of the industry:

$191.90 Billion – Golf industry’s total economic impact in America, including direct, indirect and induced impacts

$84.10 Billion – Total size of the golf economy nationally. There is an increase of 22% as compared to the data gathered in 2011$58.70 Billion – Total wage income from approximately two million U.S. jobs created

$25.70 Billion – Total in golf tourism spending

$7.20 Billion – Total new home construction in golf communities

$38 – Median cost of a round

15,000 – Estimated number of U.S. golf facilities, with about 10,000 open to the public

Approximately 75% of golf courses are public

8 out of 10 – According to the study, 8 out of 10, or 80% of golfers play at public access facilities

1 out of 75 – According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one out of the 75 jobs in the U.S. is impacted by the golf industry.”

a woman holding a golf club while walking
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on

Golf Australia & The Golf Economy

“Golf Australia’s 2021/22 Participation Report has revealed that more than 2.7 million Australians play golf, with each state and territory experiencing another year of significant club membership growth. For the first time, Golf Australia has worked with the National Golf Foundation to outline participation across all forms of golf. The data reveals that over the 12 months, Australia’s golf courses hosted 1.5 million golfers, while a further 1.2 million played off-course at a range of spaces, including driving ranges, mini-golf facilities and simulators. Club memberships across the country grew by 2.7% in 2021/22 following a record 6.4% growth in the previous 12 months, highlighted by a rise in the number of women golfers and junior golfers. Social club membership has increased by 8.9% over the past year. It’s the second largest golf membership increase since data collection began in 1970.”

Rory McIlroy

Buying Golf Gear In Australia

Drummond Golf in Australia is the largest retail golf franchise in this neck of the woods. Golf World is another long time retail presence in the Australian market. Power Golf and Golf Box are also golfing gear retailers. On Course Golf is the pro shop network brand name in the retail golf market. Golf Clearance Outlet, the House of Golf, and the Golf Warehouse Australia offer more online and retail opportunities to purchase top quality golfing gear.

Open thoughts of Golf Cam Smith

Equipment Innovation A Golfing Merchandising Success Story

Golf, unlike many other sports, is continually in the grip of an innovative fervour with new technological upgrades impacting the equipment we play with. Whether this is ultimately a good thing or just a distraction we will never know. Golfers, therefore, are constantly on the lookout for the next big thing. I think that the genesis of this has been a desire to make the game of golf easier by creating better sticks and balls. Golf is a fiendishly difficult sport to play with any reliable consistency. Strangely enough, it is this very challenging nature, which, in my opinion, keeps us all interested and variously obsessed with the game. Ironically then, manufacturers would not want to kill the golden goose by inventing and crafting the perfect set of golf clubs. A set of irons and fairway clubs that would make the game a doddle and a walk in the park. Too easy would make golf much less than it is now.

Will AI design a golf club that hits the ball by itself? Set the coordinates and press the button for a perfectly struck shot onto the green, for instance. As much as we might curse and grumble, I think most of us would sorely miss the frustration and rage being excised from golf.

Loudon Wainwright III sang:

“Golf clubs are made of wood and iron
No, no, no, they are not magic wands..

In this game you’ve got eighteen holes
To shoot your best somehow
Where have all my divots gone
I’m in the back nine now
I got to move on down to that next fairway
Up to that flapping flag
There’s a storm formin’ overhead
I got to shoulder up that bag.”

If you are not familiar with this song and Loudon Wainwright III do yourself a favour and check them out.

Free close-up of golf club

Golf was originally a Scottish game but really took off in America. The language and terminology in golf flourished in the States with birdies, pars, and eagles launching there. The commerciality of the game was founded there, as well, where everything is for sale in the land of the free. Golf spread to the masses, for a price, on the back of Arnold Palmer’s public appeal and the efforts of IMG.

The game of golf came with an annual subscription to the latest and greatest gear and equipment. Golfers were eagerly informed about the advantages of an endless stream of innovations – that would turn their game around and deliver vast distances off the tee. Wood and iron became graphite and titanium, perhaps now they were magic wands. Well, in the right hands anyway.

Robert Sudha Hamilton is the author of The Stoic Golfer: Finding Inner Peace & Focus on the Fairway.


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