In 2020, golf was one of the few activities that allowed people to be physically distant while still socializing, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. So, the sport experienced a growth in popularity. Figures show that this growth has continued since the end of the pandemic.
According to golf course data management company Lightspeed Commerce, 9.6% more people played golf in North America in 2022 compared to the previous year. This figure included a 7.5% increase in the number of players in Canada. The rise in popularity of golf in Canada was driven by players in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, with playing increases of 15.9%, 10.2%, and 8%, respectively.
There are several reasons behind the growth in the popularity of golf in Canada. Factors include,
- The availability of golf in the country, with 2,363 golf facilities available. Almost 90% of these are open to the general golfing public.
- A game of golf is an opportunity to socialize. This is something that people embraced during the pandemic and have continued to do so.
- Golf provides health benefits, such as cardiovascular exercise and stress relief.
- Canadian golfers, such as Mike Weir, Brooke Henderson, and Mackenzie Hughes, have experienced success and inspired other Canadians to take up the sport.
- Golf is a popular choice for corporate events, charity fundraisers, and team-building activities.
The industry expansion that these factors have combined to create comes with significant financial benefits. In 2019, the Canadian golf industry generated $18.2 billion of economic benefits, according to research by Group ATN Consulting Inc. on behalf of the National Allied Golf Associations. At the time, the industry contributed $4.5 billion in government tax revenue. This revenue supported a variety of programs to benefit all Canadians.
Given the rise in popularity of the game, any similar research conducted today would reveal significantly increased figures. Such an increase is especially likely due to other factors, including the ongoing popularity of Canadian online casinos with sports betting sections, contributing to the overall Canadian gambling industry’s annual revenue of $20 billion. Of course, gambling on golf is only a small part of this figure, but interest in the sport and associated wagering is heightened by events such as The Canadian Open.
A further indication of the accuracy of the assertion that financial contributions to the economy by the Canadian golf industry have increased since 2019 is the golf equipment market. This market amounts to US$0.39 billion at present and is expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.12% (2023-2028).
There is no sign that the increasing popularity of recreational golf is going to end anytime soon. So, the growth in other areas, such as green fees, gambling, and expenditure on equipment, will also continue. This is good news for the economy in Canada that benefits from Golf industry revenue and taxation. It’s also good news for the Canadian public in general, as they benefit from the programs that industry taxation supports. The more money the industry makes, the more funding is available.