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Sympatico/MSN Column: Golf in Canada is an Economic Juggernaut

My latest Sympatico golf column is now online. This one discusses the NAGA study that came out earlier this week.

Here’s a taste:

Golf is big business in Canada — $13.6 billion according to a study of the game and its economic forces that was released this week. With that in mind, will golf finally garner the respect and attention it deserves?
That’s the question that should be top of mind after the National Allied Golf Association, a collective of seven golf-related groups from club managers to equipment makers, put out their first survey of the economic impact of the game on Canada on Tuesday.

The numbers are remarkable. Golf creates $11.3-billion in gross domestic product, $13.6-billion in overall economic activity, along with 341,794 jobs. Sip-and-slice golf tournaments and other events accounted for $439-million in charitable dollars. Approximately $1.9 billion in income taxes are generated from the game. These are numbers of consequence.

The study, conducted by Strategic Networks Group in Ottawa, polled 4,000 golfers and 350 courses. The survey is considered accurate to within plus or minus1.55% 19 times out of 20 in relation to the golfers polled, and 4.76% within the courses. Unlike previous studies of the game in Canada, this one had broad industry support and many are treating it as a first in the country.

Canadians clearly love their golf. Even with a decline of 10% in rounds in 2008, there were still an estimated 70-million golf rounds played last year, and Canadians took an estimated 1-million golf trips all the while spending $1.9-billion on travel within our country. Apparently golf isn’t just a great game “ it’s great for the economy.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • 70 million rounds played per year?

    That figure is simply not credible.

    Even if you use the inflated number of Canadians that play golf (5.9 million in ’06), this means that every Canadian golfer, on average, played 10+ round per year.

    Don’t think so.

  • I found the article interesting and the numbers quite staggering but every course you drive by is busy. However I am not impressed by the author’s comment. “In an age of strip malls, unmanaged commercial and residential developments and questionable farming practices,”. What exactly does he infer with “questionable farming practices”? He has no expertise in that field (no pun intended). By such an offhand comment puts the credibility of his entire article in question.

  • I believe there are something in the range of 1800 courses in Canada and 70M rounds would suggest that the average course puts through ~39000 rounds. Seems high?

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