By Design: Golf is More than Just a Game
The golf industry has a profound, positive impact on America's economic, environmental and social agendas. With one million jobs directly connected to golf, our sport has a substantial impact beyond the competitive and recreational benefits of participation. Job creation, tax generation and tourism activation are all impacted by your local golf course. Yet many people are unaware of golf's major contributions to the American economy.
In 2005, the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act was passed. This Act allocated tax benefits and relief for businesses that had been affected by Hurricane Katrina. However, the bill specified that tax benefits would not apply to golf courses or country clubs, grouping those facilities in with massage parlors, hot tub facilities, tanning salons, liquor stores and gambling establishments as businesses that would receive no benefits. Golf courses that were in the disaster zone were denied access to tax breaks that included accelerated depreciation, deduction of demolition and clean-up costs, operating loss carryback and employee retention tax credit.
The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act pointed out to golf's national associations that we could no longer solely focus on the promotion of the sport of golf, but instead needed to put some of our resources toward promoting the industry of golf. So, we worked with Golf 20/20 (which is run by the World Golf Foundation) to design a comprehensive analysis of golf's contributions to the US economy that would show how golf benefits society.
In conjunction with research partner SRI International, Golf 20/20 released the 2005 Golf Economy Report, which was unveiled in 2008. The report valued golf's direct economic contribution to the US economy at $76 billion, its benefits including the provision of two million jobs and a wage income of $61 billion. That is larger than newspaper publishing, performing arts and spectator sports, and the motion picture and video industries.
Additionally, 22 state golf economic studies have been completed by SRI to date, with additional state studies currently being conducted. The tremendous impact golf has on the economy has been consistent across every economic study that has been complete. The economic reports used at the local, state and national levels are eye-openers for elected officials, media and business leaders alike. When Florida Governor Charlie Crist attended the 2010 PG Merchandise Show, he marveled at the fact that one in 85 Floridians over the age of 18 have jobs that are connected with golf.