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

                                  Mar 15, 2023 - Dynamic Pricing More Common at Golf Courses
                                  • More golfers are experiencing dynamic, or surge, pricing when booking a round at their favorite golf course, as the practice has crept into more industries, according to the Wall Street Journal. With dynamic pricing, companies continuously adjust pricing based on demand, which boosts prices at popular times. Other factors used to determine prices include competition, the time of day, the day of the week, the weather, and the location and type of device used by shoppers. One golf course highlighted its pricing to customers online: "Dynamic Pricing Puts You in Total Control.” While companies say dynamic-pricing software can help them fill excess capacity, reallocate demand, and maximize revenue, some customers are annoyed by the practice. Robert Shumsky, professor at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, said consumers could be frustrated by the dynamic pricing. “It can be very opaque, and that can really give people a sense of unfairness.”
                                  • Consumer confidence levels declined in February 2023 for the second consecutive month, according to data from The Conference Board. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell to 102.9 in February 2023 from 106 in January 2023, as high prices and rising interest rates affected consumers’ willingness to spend. According to Ataman Ozyildirim, a senior director of economics at The Conference Board, “Consumer confidence declined again in February. The decrease reflected large drops in confidence for households aged 35 to 54 and for households earning $35,000 or more.” Plans to purchase homes, vehicles, and appliances have cooled, in addition to a drop in vacation intentions, per Ozyildirim.
                                  • Participation in golf continues to grow year over year, with off-course engagement eclipsing on-course play for the first time in 2022, according to data from the National Golf Foundation (NGF). Off-course golf engagement, which includes venues such as Top Golf, driving ranges, and golf simulators, grew 13% year over year and reached 27.9 million in 2022. On-course golf participation increased by 2% in 2022, reaching more than 25.6 million. On-course participation has risen for five consecutive years and has grown by 1.3 million in the past three years. Overall, the consumer base for golf was a record 41.1 million in 2022, accounting for a 12.4 million overlap in the on-course and off-course players.
                                  • The number of new US golf courses currently under construction has increased more than 55% over the recent three-year pre-pandemic average, according to analysis from the National Golf Foundation (NGF). The NGF is currently tracking 54 new courses under construction and another 38 in the planning stages. The planned facilities include specialty facilities such as high-end golf destinations, innovative short courses, and exclusive private clubs. The activity is a sign that the golf business is, according to the report, “in the process of turning a corner with course closures declining and new course construction rising.”
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