The number of new courses being built has decreased every year since 2000, according to data compiled by the National Golf Foundation (NGF). In 2004, there were 150.5 course openings and 62.5 verified closures (in 18-hole equivalents), for a net gain of 88 courses, representing a net increase of approximately one-half of one percent. The 2005 forecast is for 150-160 18-hole equivalent course openings. In contrast, nearly 400 18-hole equivalents opened in 2000.
Including course openings and closings, the total number of U.S. golf facilities stands at 16,057, breaking the 16,000 mark for the first time. Adjusting for 9-hole and 18-hole-plus facilities, there were 14,988 18-hole equivalents at the year-end.
Of the new courses, 102.5 are open to the public and 48 are private. Real estate-related courses accounted for 59% of new development in 2004. Real estate has consistently driven 40 to 60% of new course development and is expected to continue to do so. However, the overall number of new real estate-related courses is lower than in the 1990s.
NGF also tracks the development pipeline of courses that are in planning or under construction. As of 31st December 2004, there were 320 18-hole equivalents under construction; 410 that have begun the in-planning phase and another 261 that have been proposed (pre-planning stage).
The full golf course development report, including a description of the total supply of U.S. golf courses, is available in Golf Facilities in the United States, 2005 edition.
National Golf Foundation www.ngf.org