Power Drive – The Economic Impact of Golf in Indiana

Power Drive – The Economic Impact of Golf in Indiana

The sport of golf has always had an important and intrinsic link with the business world, in more ways than most folks might expect. Of course, golf activities are often regarded as special settings where meetings and professional relationships can grow outside of the office. But one of the things that gets overlooked about the sport is that it’s a powerful economic driver in its own right. Golf is big business and a major area of investment, which truly creates a heck of an economic impact here in the Hoosier state.


$2B Birdie

A new economic impact study completed by the National Golf Foundation (NGF) and released by Indiana Golf tells us just how much of a hole-in-one the industry is for the Hoosier economy. The study was released early this spring and evaluated data from 2021.

The NGF said that Indiana ranks just outside the top 10 in total United States golf supply. We rank 38th in total square miles out of all states, but we’ve got 368 golf facilities with more than 400 courses.

Among our 400+ courses are several national standouts. The recently reconfigured Pfau Course at Indiana University is regarded as one of the country’s top college courses. The French Lick Resort and Crooked Stick Golf Club courses are each nationally “renowned.” And the Victoria National course near Evansville, which was carved from an abandoned coal mine, was described as a “heralded newer design.”

Collectively, all of the golf courses and related businesses generated more than a $2 billion economic impact in Indiana throughout 2021. Specifically, researchers found that:

  • The size of Indiana’s direct golf economy was approximately $1.042 billion.
  • The industry is estimated to have generated just over $2.02 billion (direct, indirect, and induced) to the wider Indiana economy.
  • The sport supports just over 23,300 jobs with $612.6 million of wage income and more than $147.2 million in state and local taxes.
  • Total consumer spending at golf facilities exceeded $579.8 million.
  • In 2021, Indiana golf facilities invested more than $67.3 million in capital improvements for renovations or enhancements, supporting close to 810 additional jobs.
  • Additionally, about 80% of Hoosier golf facilities hosted a charitable event in 2021, raising an estimated total of $50.4 million in charitable contributions through fundraising.


How Much Do Hoosiers Play?

One cool fact about golf in Indiana is that Hoosiers really get out there and play. We have a “proportionately strong” volume of activity even though we have a shorter golf season compared to other states with warmer climates.

Courses in Indiana hosted a total of 554,000 individual golfers across 8.6 million rounds in 2021, or approximately 23,700 rounds per 18 holes. That’s quite solid compared to the total U.S. average of 31,529 rounds per 18 holes across all climates.

Part of the reason for this strong activity is the relative affordability of the sport across Hoosier courses. Researchers said, “Golf in Indiana is more accessible and affordable than the national average. Over 82% of all Indiana courses are open and available to the public, as compared to 74% of overall U.S. supply. Additionally, about 95% of the state’s public courses have peak green and cart fees under $70, which is the defining threshold for “premium” pricing. By comparison, 86% of courses in the U.S. have “value” or “standard” playing fees under $70.”

As an interesting side note, each round of that gets played generates additional spending. The average revenue from green, cart, and membership fees in the state was $39.35 per round, plus additional revenue from ancillary items like purchases at the pro shop.


Hole-in-One for Hoosiers

Aside from being an outstanding pastime and a great environment for business networking, the sport of golf brings tremendous economic potential to the Hoosier state. An impact of $2.02 billion and support of more than 23,300 jobs is certainly no slice, it’s a powerful drive with positive outcomes for our communities.





Executives Love Golfing – It Gets Results.

  • 97% of executives say golfing with a business associate is a way to establish a close relationship.
  • 92% use golf as a way to make business contacts.
  • More than 50% say there is no better way to get to know associates and clients.
  • 45% say clients are more likely to give you their business if you golf together.
  • 43% of executives say some of their biggest deals have been made or started on the golf course.

Source: My Chicago Golf, 2015; Guideline Research & Consulting

Click to share!