Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the 1994 World Scientific Congress of Golf

By A. J. Cochran; M. R. Farrally | Go to book overview

82

The development and growth of the U.S. golf market

J.F. Beditz

National Golf Foundation, Jupiter, Florida, USA

Abstract

This paper analyzes the growth of golf in the United States and the applicability of the U.S. experience to other markets. Three distinct growth periods are identified: the 1920's, the 1960's and the third, and current, growth period that began in the mid-eighties. Barriers to further growth of the game are then examined. Finally, the paper discusses the development of an industry-wide strategic plan to overcome the growth barriers.

Keywords: U.S. Golf History, Participation, Growth of Golf, Market Development, Consumer Research, Strategic Plan.


1 Introduction

In 1995 the United States Golf Association will celebrate its, and arguably the game of golf's, one hundredth anniversary in America. In that centennial year, approximately twenty five million Americans will play over five hundred million rounds of golf on more than 15,000 golf courses.

Because of the relatively rapid growth of the game in the U.S. and owing to the fact that the U.S. market represents about half of the world market for golf, many observers look to the States as a model for growth in other parts of the world. Is this emulation appropriate, or are there uniquenesses in the U.S. Market that can not be replicated? To answer this question one needs to take a closer look at the development of golf in the U.S. and develop an understanding of the factors that have contributed to that growth.


2 Golf in the U.S.-The Early Years

While the exact date of golf's introduction in the U.S. is a point of argument, it seems the start of golf's acceptance as a sport in the United States occurred in the 1920's. During this period there was an aggressive development of golf facilities so that by 1931, there were over 5,600 golf facilities in the United States.

Golf in the U.S. during this early development period was primarily a private club sport, with golf participation estimated at 2% of

Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. Edited by A.J. Cochran and M.R. Farrally. Published in 1994 by E & FN Spon, London. ISBN 0 419 18790 1

-546-

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