Tough Look At The Golf Industry

Phil Kosin in Chicagoland Golf takes a tough look at the golf industry on news that course closing will outnumber openings for a third straight year.
 While data for 2007 has yet to be compiled, golf course closures nationwide are expected to outpace openings for the third straight year.

After nearly 20 years of strong growth, the nation’s total number of golf courses topped off in 2004 with 16,057. That represents an increase of 3,211 courses – about 25 percent – in 15 years.
Those 3,211 new courses represent this country’s second “Golf Boom” – the first coming during the 1920s when clubs and balls became affordable for everyone thanks to machinery that allowed for mass production. Previously, clubs were affordable only to “the privileged” because they were made one at a time by skilled craftsmen; while wound balls were being mass-produced, the market was small.

After the number peaked at 16,057, in 2005 the nation’s total golf course supply dwindled by five; last year, that number jumped to 62. Insiders are saying that number may be closer to 80 or more in 2007.