UF Study: Golf is big business in state, county


Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 9:44 p.m.

Facts

Golf stats in 2000 AT A GLANCE

  • In Florida, 58.6 million rounds of golf were played, bringing in $4.4 billion
  • In Alachua County, 135,000 rounds of golf were played, generating $16 million
    "Golf stands on its own as a very important industry and a large contributor to the economy in Florida," said JOHN J. HAYDU, professor of agricultural economics in the food and resource economics department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida.

  • Golf is big business in Florida, translating into billions of dollars annually and employing tens of thousands of workers, according to a new University of Florida study.
    The study indicates that in the year 2000, 58.6 million rounds of golf were played on Florida's courses, bringing in $4.4 billion in total annual revenues for the industry and employing 73,000 people. Golf tourists spent nearly $23 billion in the state in 2000.
    Revenue generated by the industry in 2000 surpassed the $5.5 billion from the state's agriculture industry that year. Also, the 73,000 golf employees ranked second to the 80,000 workers employed by amusement and theme parks but above agriculture's 50,000 wage and salaried workers, according to the study.
    The study also indicated that golf courses donated $12 million in cash and $25 million in in-kind services to charitable causes.
    "Golf stands on its own as a very important industry and a large contributor to the economy in Florida," said John J. Haydu, professor of agricultural economics in the food and resource economics department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida.
    The study was conducted by Haydu, who is stationed at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, and Alan W. Hodges, assistant in food and resource economics at IFAS in Gainesville.
    "People don't realize how large some of these industries are," Haydu said. "People see them but they don't understand impact. Florida has the largest golf industry in the country."
    Industry revenues in the state for the year 2000, the most current year for statistics, were 49 percent higher than a previous estimate of $3 billion in 1991-92, according to the study.
    While Palm Beach County is the golf capital of the United States, the industry's impact also is felt right here in Alachua County. In 2000, 135,000 rounds of golf were played at the county's nine golf courses, with $16 million generated in revenue and 374 jobs provided, the study indicates.
    "We don't think of golf as a major industry in our area, but even here it is sizeable," Hodges said. He added that the study is not an endorsement of golf.
    There are some drawbacks, such as the environmental and land resources impact it has, Hodges said. But the study clearly does show that golf has an economic contribution to the economy that needs to be considered in policymaking, he said.
    The study also indicates that golf courses stewards have increased their use of recycled water - from 8 percent in 1974 to 49 percent in 2000 - and are covering their courses with drought-resistant Bermuda grass.
    The study was co-sponsored by a variety of golf-related associations and golf course developers across the state.
    Doris Chandler can be reached at 374-5094 or doris.chandler@gainesvillesun.com.

    Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

    Comments are currently unavailable on this article

    ▲ Return to Top