The US golf course industry includes about 12,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $20 billion. Major companies include ClubCorp and American Golf. The industry is highly fragmented: the 50 largest companies account for about 15 percent of revenue.
The industry includes courses that are open to the public and courses operated as part of private country clubs. Resorts that provide both overnight accommodations and golf facilities are covered in the Hotel and Motel industry profile.
Demand is driven by demographics and population growth. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations and good marketing, because many costs are fixed. Large companies can have advantages in management experience. Small companies can compete successfully by operating in favorable locations or through superior marketing. The industry is labor-intensive: annual revenue per employee is about $60,000.
Major sources of revenue for golf courses include membership dues (40 percent of industry revenue), green fees and guest fees (25 percent), and sales of food and drinks (25 percent). Other sources of revenue include merchandise sales.
Golf courses can be classified as private or open to the public. Private courses may be associated with country clubs, golf clubs, or real estate developments. Courses open to the public, known as “daily fee” courses, include commercial and municipal courses.
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