Estimating the economic impact of the U.S. golf course industry: Challenges and solutions Academic Article uri icon


  • Compared with more traditional sectors of U.S. agriculture, little economic information is available on the turfgrass industry, of which golf courses are an integral part. As a result, over the past 30 years individual states have conducted over 60 individual studies that describe in detail the economic importance of their industry. To date, no such information exists at the national level primarily due to the high cost of collecting primary data. To ameliorate this situation, the authors used secondary data from various sources and developed a composite of the turfgrass industry for the entire United States. This report focuses on the golf course industry in particular. Golf represents a very high value amenity use of horticultural products and services, is a major form of development, and uses large amounts of land and water. Results indicate the golf sector is the largest component of the turfgrass industry, accounting for a 44% share. The nearly 16,000 golf courses generated $33.2 billion (B) in (gross) output impacts, contributed $20.6 B in value added or net income, and generated 483,649 jobs nationwide. Economic impacts were also examined for each state, with "top 10" states highlighted. States falling in the top 10 category varied somewhat depending on the variables being examined. The exception were the top four states - Florida, California, Texas, and Illinois - that remained in the top four irrespective of variable type. In general, the top 10 states accounted for 55% to 60% of economic impacts for the entire United States while the top four alone contributed 40% of the total.

published proceedings

  • HortScience

author list (cited authors)

  • Haydu, J. J., Hodges, A. W., & Hall, C. R.

complete list of authors

  • Haydu, JJ||Hodges, AW||Hall, CR

publication date

  • June 2008