Forbes: Golf Will Help Ease California's Economic Woes
This article by Monte Burke appeared in the Sports Money section of Forbes on June 12.
The Golden State’s economic situation is a mess. Last month, California Governor, Jerry Brown, announced that his state—despite cuts and other measures—still faces at least a $16 billion budget deficit. The talking heads at Fox News went on air to boldly proclaim that California “is no Greece…yet.”
But amidst all the doom-and-gloom, there may be one shining light. It’s dim, to be sure, but it’s there. That light is, of all things, golf.
In 2006, the Golf 20/20 report, prepared by independent research group, SRI International, reported that the game of golf generated an economic impact of $15 billion to the state, supporting nearly 160,000 jobs.
Obviously, any report done before the Great Recession is virtually meaningless. The next report will be finished this fall. I called Peter Ryan, a researcher working for SRI International, to try to get a feel for what the next report would tell us. He told me that it’s too early to divine any numbers yet, but “golf is always a positive in California because it’s such a big industry” with economic benefits flowing in from residential and community development and tourism.
There are other reasons to be optimistic about the game and its impact in the state. According to the National Golf Foundation, only eight courses in the state closed last year while some 24 courses are currently being developed. (The world—and the U.S. in particular, surely already has enough—if not too many—golf courses. But development is at least a sign of economic growth.) California currently has 921 golf facilities, second only to Florida (1,051) in the U.S.