In 2015 (the latest year for which data is available from the US Census Bureau), there were 11, 280 golf courses and country clubs in the United States. Together, these clubs employed more than 295, 000 people with a total annual payroll of $8, 958, 268, 000.
The golf course data has been extracted from the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns survey. which breaks down subnational economic data by industry. The golf industry classification “comprises (1) establishments primarily engaged in operating golf courses (except miniature) and (2) establishments primarily engaged in operating golf courses, along with dining facilities and other recreational facilities that are known as country clubs. These establishments often provide food and beverage services, equipment rental services, and golf instruction services.”
So … public courses and country clubs are included in this category. Miniature golf is specifically excluded.
A particular item of note: The employment numbers in the County Business Patterns survey are based on reporting as of March 12 in every year. While that likely doesn’t throw off the data on how many golf courses are in the United States, it more than likely under-reports the number of employees. In much of the United States, golf is a seasonal industry, with the majority of workers needed to keep the courses running beginning employment after March and ending in October or November. The reported numbers in my mind are therefore year-round employees.
Data on the number of courses, employees and payrolls exists as far back as 2005.
The peak year for total golf courses in that period was 2008, when 12, 059 courses had 322, 631 employees with a total payroll of 8, 377, 936, 000. Payrolls were higher in 2015, but I do not know whether the numbers are adjusted for inflation.
A chart showing how many golf courses are in the United States follows:
|Year||# Of Establishments||Paid Employees||Payroll|
|2012||11628||307, 360||8, 209,893,000|
|2011||11, 751||289505||7, 980,968,000|
|2010||11, 890||296020||8, 043,628,000|
|2009||11, 853||302, 846||8,043,078,000|
|2008||12, 059||322, 631||8,377,936,000|
|2007||11, 851||316, 442||8,059,238, 000|
|2005||11, 978||304, 645||7,431,795,000|