Golf Courses & Country Clubs

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 9,600 golf courses and country clubs in the US can be broadly classified as public, private, or semi-private facilities. Golf courses typically offer only golf, and related golf services or products, while country clubs usually offer more extensive recreational activities, such as swimming and tennis. Country clubs also tend to be more private facilities, and usually offer more social services, such as a full service restaurant, formal dining room, and banquet/meeting facilities.

Environmental And Government Regulation

Golf courses and country clubs are heavily dependent on fungicides, insecticides and fertilizers to control insects, turf diseases, and to keep the various grasses green and in tip-top playing condition.

Ownership Of Multiple Courses

With so many golf courses across the nation struggling to survive, some opportunistic investors are finding success in acquiring and operating multiple courses in one geographical area as a way to pool resources, reduce maintenance costs, and market attractive combined playing options.

Industry size & Structure

An average golf course generates annual revenue of about $2.5 million and employs about 33 workers.

    • Around 9,600 courses generate revenue of $24 billion and employ 319,000 people.
    • The golf courses and country clubs industry is highly fragmented with the 50 largest firms representing just 18.5% of revenue.
    • Almost 1,300 major golf courses were renovated between 2006-2019. Only nine new courses were opened in 2019 and over 100 closed.
    • About 11% of courses closed between 2006 and 2020.
                                  Industry Forecast
                                  Golf Courses & Country Clubs Industry Growth
                                  Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                  Recent Developments

                                  Nov 14, 2022 - Steady Growth Continues
                                  • A record 3.2 million people played on a golf course for the first time in 2021, according to the National Golf Foundation. The golf course industry has had 8 consecutive years with over 2 million beginner level players, with the past two years topping 3 million. The global number of golfers was 66.6 million in 2021, which is an increase of 5.6 million from 2016. The Asia Pacific region has seen the largest increase in golf players, from 20.9 million to 23.3 million, followed by Europe (7.9 million to 10.6 million), and North America (29.9 million to 30.6 million) between 2016 and 2021.
                                  • Hurricane Ian’s late-September wind and storm surge impacted 1,119 golf facilities, according to the National Golf Foundation. Almost one in six of those were hit by hurricane strength winds and a number of those, particularly in and around the Fort Myers, FL area, remained closed or partially so almost a month later. One of the biggest concerns is the impact which salt water that covered golf courses will have on the turf. “I know if they had Bermuda rather than salt-resistant paspalum, the damage from the brackish water was more significant,” said Erik Matuszewski of the National Golf Foundation.
                                  • Many golf courses in drought-stricken areas are turning to recycled water for irrigation. The Lakes at Hemet West’s nine-hole golf course in California, for example, formerly used 250 acre-feet of drinkable water every yearm but will use approximately 70 acre-feet of drinkable water and 110 acre-feet of recycled water each year in 2022 and after. California's Eastern Municipal Water District has converted about 10 other courses in the area. Experts note that drought tolerant plants are also part of the solution.
                                  • Several Colorado jurisdictions are proposing water use restrictions that could limit golf course development. A proposal under consideration in Aurora would explicitly prohibit new golf courses, while proposals in other jurisdictions would place Las Vegas-style caps on some types of turf and seasonal gallon limits on watering per square foot. “It’s a new reality for Colorado,” said Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman. “Water resources are becoming increasingly scarce in the state and we have to recognize that.” Similar legislation may be introduced in other water-challenged states if the proposals are approved.
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