The slight downward trend in the number of golfers in the U.S. continued in 2008, falling 3% from 29.5 million in 2007 to 28.6 million in 2008, according to the annual golf participation study of the National Golf Foundation (NGF). For research purposes, a golfer is defined as a person, age 6 or above, who plays at least one round of golf in a given year. The study of 42,000 Americans was fielded by Synovate, a global market research firm in Chicago, Ill.
Decreases were seen in both the Core and Occasional golfer categories. Core golfers (age 6+, eight or more rounds a year) dropped from 17.3 million to 16.6 million. Occasional golfers (age 6+, one to seven rounds a year) dropped from 12.2 million to 12.0 million.
Nevertheless, 4.0 million golfers either approached the game in 2008 for the first time, or returned after a hiatus. These were offset by 4.9 million “lost golfers” who played in 2007 but not in 2008.
“There is a natural turnover of participants not only in golf, but in virtually every sport,” says Joe Beditz, NGF President and CEO. “We are definitely attracting new and former golfers from a large pool of latent demand. The challenge for the industry is to slow the loss of existing golfers while increasing the retention rate of those who come in each year.”
Tell Us What You Think!
You must be logged in to post a comment.