Golf is big business in Canada. That fact was reinforced, yet again, on Tuesday when the National Allied Golf Association released an economic impact study for the sport.
The report, compiled by the Strategic Networks Group, showed that golf is worth $14.3 billion to the Canadian GDP, up from $11.3 billion ($12.2 billion, when adjusted to the consumer price index) in the last study done in 2009.
Among the other findings in the report:
• 300,100 direct, indirect and induced jobs (342,000 in 2009)
• $8.3 billion in household income ($8.0 billion in 2009)
• $1.4 billion in property and other indirect taxes ($1.3 billion in 2009)
• $2.2 billion in income taxes ($2.6 billion in 2009)
In the middle of the other notable findings was the charity aspect with golf raising $533 million for charitable causes. And golf tourism remains big in Canada with a value of $4.6 billion for Canadians traveling at home and abroad and foreigners spending another $1.6 billion.
Not all the news was good, however. The study also showed a loss of 10 million rounds annually, from 70 million in 2009 to 60 million in 2014, although the revenues remain the same, and there were roughly 40,000 fewer jobs created by the golf industry with approximately 300,000 in 2014. Golf Canada also tweeted out that the average cost of a green fee in Canada is $42.
Now the question is how will the industry use this information? One of the biggest pushes has been to lobby government for fairness in the tax code where rounds at golf courses can not be written off as a business expense as would hockey tickets or dinners. Armed with the latest study, leaders of the various golf associations that make up NAGA were in Ottawa to press the government for changes. But to limit the push to just tax code alterations would be to sell the game short. The industry also needs to push the awareness of the game as a significant business, one that's bigger than many to which Ottawa gives benefits. It needs to push for awareness among its players too, especially as the game gets negative headlines for the drop in participation.
A study such as the one just released will go a long way to showing that.