"The golf industry can lay claim to being a bigger American business than the motion-picture industry, newspaper publishing and the combined performing arts and other spectator sports."

Steve Elling reports on the seminar joined by Steve Mona, David Fay, Joe Steranka and Tim Finchem at the PGA Show to trot out some pretty wild numbers:

Orlando or not, the numbers sound like Disney fiction: The industry generates $76 billion annually in direct economic impact and can claim approximately 2 million jobs with a wage impact of $61 billion nationally.

The stage could not have been better to relay the splashy message. The PGA expo this year features 1 million feet of exhibit space and will draw an estimated 45,000 spectators for the week. So, from that standpoint, officials such as Mona and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who helped present the new data, were preaching to the choir.

The research was conducted by SRI International, which used federal government models to arrive at its estimates. This marked the second time the sport commissioned an economic study, and despite a broad slump in the sport's growth rate since the survey was conducted five years ago, the numbers have jumped markedly from the initial figure of $62 million.


"We want to be able to quantify how big our industry has become," Mona said.

The primary indices used to measure the impact were from greens fee revenues, tourism, real-estate developments linked to golf, equipment sales, plus other money generated by courses (food, weddings, dances) and the like.

Don't forget Batmitzvahs...

"Golf generates more money than any other sport in the world that we know of," Mona said.

Now, wait a sec here. Don't people bet a fair amount on the NFL?