Nationwide golf’s popularity expanded rapidly in the late 1990s. New Jersey especially benefited from the expansion. It gained 10 new courses for a total of 294 golf courses statewide by 2006. This rate of growth in courses was faster than that experienced nationally during the same period. Such rapid growth may have been a response to that state’s relatively low household participation rate in golf.
Many studies have been performed to ascertain golf’s economic contributions. This is the first to focus on New Jersey’s experience, however. The object of this study is to identify the golf industry’s total economic contribution to the State of New Jersey. We define the golf industry as the golf courses, tourism by visitors whose main purpose is to visit the state’s golf-based tourism venues, golf retailing and wholesaling, nonstandard golfing venues (e.g., miniature golf, driving ranges, chip-and-putt courses), and the businesses that support these four segments.
A main focus of the study was a survey of the revenues and spending of golf courses in the state. The survey’s fining suggest annual spending at golf courses in New Jersey amounts to:
- $1.37 billion, of which about $211 million is put toward capital spending and the rest toward operations including the clubhouses, catering, and pro shops.
- About $518 million of the $1.16 billion that is put toward operating expenses is applied toward payrolls. This payroll supports about 14,820 jobs.
- A substantial portion (44.3 percent) of the spending is covered by fees and dues, although golf operating revenues (25.4 percent) and charges for food and beverages (28.9 percent) are also substantial.