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Economic Impact of Golf

Courtesy of CGSA's Greenmaster, November/December, 2021

We are Golf; comprised of the National Allied Golf Associations – Canadian Golf Superintendents Association, Canadian Society of Club Managers, Golf Canada, PGA of Canada and National Golf Course Owners Association Canada; undertook the economic impact study of golf on Canada’s economy earlier this year.  Two individual surveys were conducted both to golfers and operators through various channels.  The survey requested information on the 2019 year/season.  The results of the survey have recently been released and are showing some positive outcomes of the economic result of the golf industry on the Canadian economy. 

The full economic impact of the industry is highlighted as a total of $16.5B in initial expenditure, which represents around $44M per 100,000.  Based on these expenditures, the golf industry accounts for $18.2B of Canada’s gross domestic product; up from $15.9B in 2013.

Golf participation is showing an estimated 57M rounds of golf in 2019.   Canadians enjoyed incorporating golf into travel and made approximately 10.6M trips involving golf with 6.8M in their home province and 3.8M outside their home province or abroad.

The industry directly employed 149,844 full-time or full-time equivalent positions and shows a positive increase of 30% in student employment from the 2013 report.  Meaning that many of the positions filled in the industry are assisting students with post secondary education costs.

The survey also found that golf course operations in Canada manage between 155,000 and 175,000 hectares of land.  And include 30,000 – 35,000 hectares of wildlife and wetland area.  These are managed by many of the CGSA members, always with care and concern as stewards of the environment.

A 2017 National Golf Foundation survey found that Canada is second in the world, sandwiched between number one the United States and number three Japan for the number of golf courses.   This same survey found that there were 805 courses in Ontario, 359 in Quebec, 308 in Alberta and 304 in British Columbia. 

The average golf operator spent $1.9 million per course (18-hole equivalent), totalling $3.8B nationwide.  The greatest share of costs were associated with wages with an average of nearly $800,000, course operation came in a close second with an average of over $370,000 per course. 

Charitable impacts continue to be a large part of the golf industry where the industry shows an impact of $330M; impact is from funds raised through hosting golf related charitable events, non-golf related charitable events and in-kind donations.

Of course, the effect of COVID-19 is not included in these results, however we do know that rounds played are up considerably over the 2020 playing season, but travel and sales on several areas of the industry have been affected.  We thank the contributions of the National Allied Golf Association Partners, Golf Town, The Toro Company, Ping Canada, Provincial Golf Associations, Cabot, CCMC, ClubLink Corporation, GolfBC Holdings, Club Car LLC, Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada, Wasserman Canada, Nicholas Landry, GGA, Alberta Golf Superintendents Association, Club Procure, TaylorMade Golf Canada, Entegra Canada, Signature Risk Partners along with several individual golf clubs.


 KEY POINTS from the 2020 Economic Impact of Golf Survey: