August 18, 2006
The Economic Impact of Golf
Posted by Lisa Fairfax

While I was in South Africa I watched a program that featured the efforts South Africa was making to build golf courses in the country. The program noted that such efforts were important because the kind of people who played golf tended to spend a significant amount of money both at the golf course and in the surrounding community. As result, the program emphasized the idea that building golf courses represented an important aspect of building the South African economy.

I was intrigued by this phenomenon and did some research, which showed that there have been studies regarding the impact golf has on particular economies. Certainly golf tournaments, like other major sports events, have a tremendous impact on a country’s economy. Depending on the nature of the tournament, the amount of money that players, spectators, media and organizers spend during a tournament could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. In addition, even outside of tournaments, golf courses attract significant resources both in terms of money spent in connection with the course itself and in terms of money spent at the local businesses surrounding the course. Studies suggest that the money associated with golf courses could also represent hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The studies also indicate that golf courses may generate thousands of jobs for the local communities. From this perspective, it makes a lot of sense to include the construction of golf courses as part of a broader plan to enhance a country’s economy.

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