Study: Golf an $11.3B business in Canada

JOHN HERBERT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

Golf in Canada is an $11.3-billion business and employs 341,794 people, a national study of 4,000 golfers released yesterday by the National Allied Golf Association shows.

The study, conducted by North American-based Strategic Networks Group Inc., involved golfers at 350 courses in 10 provinces and three territories and provides the first independent assessment of the economic impact of the golf industry in Canada. NAGA consists of representatives of the golf courses owners, Canadian PGA, course superintendents, manufacturers and the Royal Canadian Golf Association.

The results, based on a research model developed by economists from the United States, demonstrate the role golf has played in the economy of Canada highlighted by $11.3 billion of Canada's domestic product.

In addition to hundreds of thousands of jobs created, the golf industry creates $7.6 billion in household income, $1.2 billion in property and other indirect taxes and $1.9 billion in income taxes.

"We finally have some data about the Canadian golf industry and it's going to help put perspective on where golf stands in the Canadian economy,'' said Neil Kapp, one of the owners of East Park golf course and president of the National Golf Course Owners Association.

The East Park ownership group also owns Westminster Trails and Maple Ridge courses and operates the water park and other recreation activities at East Park.

Kapp said from a course owners' perspective, the data will also be helpful in explaining golf's importance when dealing with politicians and government involving advocacy issues such a pesticide use and property taxes.

"We now have real information when we talk to them,'' Kapp said. "Before we just walked in and told them what we believed.''

Revenues generated by golf courses and their facilities and stand-alone driving ranges and practice ranges total $4.7 billion and compare to $4.8 billion generated by all other participant sports and recreation activities in Canada.

Other findings:

- 200,000 hectares of green space are managed by golf course operators including 41,000 hectares of unmanaged habitat.

- 70 million rounds of golf were played in 2008, about 10% lower than other years.

- According to IPSOS Reid, there are six million golfers in Canada.

- The golf industry is an excellent employment opportunity with 43% of those employed students.

- The location of houses on golf courses creates higher home values compared to similar homes not adjacent to courses.

- There are 25,000 charitable events at Canadian courses raising $349 million each year.

- Canadian travellers make more than one million trips a year spending $1.9 billion on golf-related travel within Canada.

Kapp said among the things that jumped out at him were that more people play golf than hockey and that the golf industry revenues are comparable to revenues generated by all other sports combined. He was also impressed by the charitable work of golf courses.


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