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Golf's Economic Impact

Golf is an economic indicator. Housing sales, equipment sales, rounds played—put them together and they give a mini-snapshot of how America is doing. And how is it? Pretty good, according to Bloomberg.com, which says most of the strength is from sales of golf homes and courses, both on the rise. Debt-ridden courses are either cleaning out their books or being sold and prices are up. Rounds played rose in 2012 over 2011 (by nearly 500 million rounds, a 5.7% jump), but this year isn’t faring as well due to the crazy weather nationwide. But all is not lost: Revenue per round is up this year. The bad weather also slowed golf equipment sales, according to LINKS editors’ own chats with industry types. As for golf’s total financial impact, Bloomberg pegged it in 2011 at $69 billion for the “core business” (more than twice baseball or football); add in the “spillover effect” golf has on other industries and we’re talking $177 billion in economic activity. So give yourself a round of applause, golfers: We’re keeping America moving!

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