Golf industry in full swing for U.S., Arizona economy

The golf industry is swinging for the fences both nationally and locally.

According to the National Golf Foundation, the US has 24 million golf players; in 2017, an additional 2.6 million people tried golf for the first time. Because of the magnitude of fandom, the golf industry generates $84.1 billion in annual US economic impact and has impacted almost two million jobs. In fact, the golf industry impacts one in 75 jobs in the United States, according to a study by We Are Golf.

This growth translates to the state level as well. Karsten Manufacturing Corporate Counsel Dawn Grove explains that Arizona is one of the most active golf states. “Arizona may want to consider adding a sixth “C” – “courses” – to its cattle, citrus, climate, cotton and copper,” she jokes. “Arizona boasts more than 300 golf courses, and the number of jobs directly provided by the golf industry appears to have surpassed the number of jobs directly provided by [other major industries] for some years now.”

In Arizona, the golf industry generated 18,700 jobs in 2014. Additionally, golf contributes to the economy through tax revenue. Grove notes that its impact on tourism creates a massive economic spike.

“We also have the world’s best-attended golf tournament going on right here this coming week:  the Waste Management Open at the TPC Scottsdale Championship course,” she continues. “Literally more than half a million people come out to watch the world’s top pro golfers compete, and they’re building stadiums around the 16th and 17th holes to accommodate the crowds. Tourists come to watch, and they stay in hotels and frequent restaurants nearby which

helps the economy overall and increases tax revenues for Arizona and local cities.”

Events like the Waste Management Open also contribute philanthropically. Last year alone, the tournament raised $12.2 million for charity – the largest charitable donation of any PGA Tour event. Annually, national golf tournaments combine to generate $4 billion in philanthropic gifts.

Also, Arizona State University and the University of Arizona have attracted elite golfers as both universities have women’s golf teams ranked in the top 10 nationally.

Because it is accessible for all ages and genders, golf connects people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Grove notes, “Golf is growing because it’s a wonderful game that’s widely accessible, it brings people together, and it can be played by all ages over a lifetime.”

Ben Norman

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