How Many People Play Golf in the USA?

By Brendan O'Brien

Golf can be played at most any age, making it a life-long activity enjoyed by millions of Americans. The number of people playing golf has decreased slightly; but, it has remained at about 25 million for the past three years. The decrease in golfers comes from golfers leaving the sport and from a lack of new, young golfers.

Most Current Data Available

There were 25.3 million golfers above the age of 6 in the United States, according to the National Golf Foundation's 2013 golf participation study. This is slightly less than the number of golfers in the prior year.

Historical Data

According to the National Golf Foundation, there were 28.8 million golfers in the U.S. in 2000, 30 million in 2005, 26.1 million in 2010, 25.5 in 2011 and 25.3 million in 2012.

Decreasing Numbers

The number of golfers from 2000 to 2012 dropped by about 12 percent due to the struggling U.S. economy. Most of the decrease is attributed to golfers who were playing less or not at all.

Part of the decrease in the number of total golfers can be attributed to the lack of new, younger golfers aged 18-35 years.

Rounds Played

The National Golf Foundation estimates that there were 465.5 million rounds of golf played in the U.S. in 2013. This is down from the 518.4 million rounds played in 2000.

Women Golfers

Golf Datatech, the golf industry's leading independent research firm for golf trends, reported in 2014 that female golfers were more than 20% of the 25 million U.S. golfers and contributed about 19% of all golf sales.

Economic Impact

According to Golf 20/20, a report for the world Golf Foundation by SRI International, golfers and golf enthusiasts spent $68.8 billion dollars on the game in 2011.

About The Author

Brendan O'Brien is a professional journalist in Milwaukee, Wis. He has worked for several news organizations, newspapers such as the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" and trade magazines during his 15-year career. He is currently a freelance writer who works for several publications.
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