We’re living in a golden age of golf. The U.S. golf course and country club market is worth about $26.7 billion, according to IBIS World, with the industry projected to grow 1.8% this year. And with more than 16,000 golf courses at 14,000 golf facilities around the country, there are more golf courses nationwide than McDonald’s or Starbucks locations.

You don’t need to be well-connected or well-to-do to tee off at most of them, either. About 75% of golf courses are open to the public, making the game more accessible. Eight in 10 golfers play public golf and pay a median green fee of $37.

The sport has an estimated reach of 106 million people, according to the National Golf Foundation, with 1 in 3 Americans over age 6 engaging with the sport in some way in 2021. Another 12.4 million people enjoyed the sport exclusively at driving ranges and entertainment venues like Topgolf, according to Zippia.

Although rounds played declined by 5.9% in 2022 compared to 2021, golf continues to draw people of all ages. The median age for U.S. golfers is 54, but younger age groups also enjoy the sport. In 2021, about 6.1 million players ages 18-34 and 3.1 million junior golfers younger than 18 played on a golf course.

Once golfers get in the game, they want to keep playing. In a 2022 survey from GGA Partners, the National Collegiate Club Golf Association and the City Tour, 53% of respondents said golf is an important part of their lives.

Golfers are willing to spend more than ever to play the sport, too, with members of Gen X willing to pay about $6,800 to join a private club. Millennials and members of Gen Z say they’d spend about $6,100. When it comes to individual club membership, the average cost is about $520 per month, according to a survey by Golf Digest.

Golf is big business, and now is the time for golf courses to build on the momentum of the past few years. Read on for some ideas to get your golf course marketing off the ground with promotional products.

So, You Want To Play Golf?

A record 3.2 million people played on a golf course for the first time in 2021. Pre-pandemic, the highest record was 2.4 million in 2000, when Tiger Woods was at the top of his game. Among those who didn’t play golf in 2021, nearly 18 million say they are very interested in playing golf on a golf course. Another 42 million say they are somewhat interested. Golf courses can use promotional campaigns to attract beginners and potential golfers.

America’s Top 10 Golf Courses

Every year, the experts at Golf.com declare the nation’s top 100 golf courses. They look at factors such as design attributes, a course’s surroundings and overall course architecture. These 10 courses landed at the top of the ranking:

Golf Course Careers

Golf is a huge employer, with about 2 million U.S. jobs impacted by the golf industry. These workers earn about $55.6 billion in total and work in roles such as golf instructor, golf shop staff and maintenance crew. Logoed merchandise like apparel and caps keep these staffers looking sharp and on brand.

Who Plays Golf?

When planning promotional campaigns, golf courses should keep in mind the demographics of modern golfers:

  • 77% of golfers are men and 22% are women.
  • Golfers have an average household income of $125,000.
  • 55% of baby boomers played golf in 2021.
  • 12% of millennials played golf in 2021.
  • 7% of Gen X played golf in 2021.
  • 4% of Gen Z played golf in 2021.

Women’s Golf Is Booming

Once known as a boys’ club, golf is changing. The number of women golfers is at an all-time high, surging to almost 6.2 million in 2021. The National Golf Foundation reports that no segment has grown as much since 2020 than female golfers. In 2021, women comprised 25% of all golfers teeing off, up from 19% in 2011.

Golf courses should be sure to offer customized apparel, accessories and gear that appeal to women golfers. This market is worth an estimated $1.53 billion, with equipment making up 69% of purchases, followed by apparel.

Fewer Drinks On The Links

One or two cold ones may serve as “swing oil,” but one study found that nearly 67% of people do not drink while playing golf. Give golfers customized products like bottle openers and pint glasses, which they can use after a day on the course.

Golf In High School

Participation in high school sports is down across the board, except for girls’ volleyball and boys’ golf. When it comes to the 10 most popular sports for high schoolers, boys’ golf now claims the No. 8 spot, with 4% more players than in 2019. There are nearly 149,000 male athletes who play golf.

Golf courses could partner with local schools to connect with teen golfers. Promotional gear like logoed golf balls, tees and apparel promote brand awareness.

Celebrating The Sport

Golf courses can roll out the red carpet and dole out the promotional products for golf-themed occasions like:

Packed with all the golfing essentials, the Hobby House Golf Gift Tin makes a fun and useful giveaway at golf tournaments. Customize with a one-color imprint on a belly-band wrap.

The Book Company / PPAI 218850, S5

Promote events with the Weekend Warrior Golf Kit. It includes three golf balls, a microfiber golf towel, a collapsible can cooler and a bottle opener divot tool with a removable ball marker, all tucked inside a nylon zipper pouch with a clip.

Ball Pro / PPAI 112763, S8

Stock the pro shop with golf apparel like the Reebok Playoff. Made from 100% polyester, this machine-washable shirt keeps golfers dry on the course with its moisture-wicking capabilities.

Dunbrooke Apparel / PPAI 111864, S6

Sunscreen is a staple in many golf goodie bags. This SPF 30 Sunscreen Squeeze Pouch is perfectly portable for a day on the green, featuring a lightweight and durable design. Get it in coconut breeze or unscented.

SnugZ USA / PPAI 112982, S11

Golf event sponsors can increase brand exposure with the Swig Golf Partee Tumbler. Featuring a dimple design that resembles a golf ball, this 32-ounce cup fits most cup holders and includes a BPA-free lid with a removable slider.

Aakron / PPAI 111082, S10

Every golfer needs a good golf towel. The absorbent, fast-drying Microfiber Waffle Golf Towel lets golfers quickly clean their clubs or dry sweaty hands. It features full-color graphics with edge-to-edge sublimation.

Pro Towels / PPAI 112755, S8

Enhanced with a pitted surface like a real golf ball, the Golf Stress Ball makes a great addition to golf tournament player bags. After the event, golfers can use the stress ball in their office or vehicle or at home.

Bel Promo / PPAI 362224, S10

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