The 2012 NGF Golf Participation in America Report is now available to members at www.ngf.org. This report provides more detail than the 1-page summary report.
The number of golfers remained essentially flat in 2011 at 25.7 million. Compared to the 26.1 million recorded in 2010, the estimated drop of 400K golfers is well within sampling error for a study of this size.
An encouraging trend continued in 2011…the number of golfers coming into the game in 2011 held steady vs. previous years while the number of lost participants dropped significantly. More significant declines from 2008-2010 appear to show a recessionary effect. Based upon the 2011 metrics, it appears that a return to historical equilibrium in these metrics is likely.
Considering the severity of the recession and its effects on both discretionary income and time, golf has held up rather well. Multiple NGF studies of golfers since 2008 would attribute the gradual decline in golfers and rounds primarily to the impact of lower job security and concern over personal finances, not waning appeal for the game.
Each January since 1986, the NGF has surveyed Americans regarding golf participation. In 2007, the NGF joined a partnership of sports associations to cooperatively conduct sports participation research (the Physical Activity Council). The other associations are:
- International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)
- Outdoor Industry Foundation (OIF)
- Snowsports Industries America (SIA)
- Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA)
- Tennis Industry Association (TIA)
- United States Tennis Association (USTA)
The Council currently surveys 40,000 Americans ages 6 and above regarding their participation in over 100 sports and fitness activities, including golf.
Members can see the full report here.