GOLF 20/20 and The First Tee commissioned the National Golf Foundation to conduct a study of Minority Golf Participation in the US in 2003 to measure future growth and the impact of various diversity inclusion programs provided by the golf industry. The study provided excellent insight into the growth opportunities that existed in the golf industry. When combined with the most recent US Census Bureau data, this presents the core of a powerful business case in support of the Golf Industry Supplier Diversity Initiative:
- Non-Minorities Constitute Bulk of Current Golf Participants: Per the Minority Golf Participation in the US study, the number of golf participants in 2003 were 36.7 million and 83% of them were white. Minorities accounted for the remaining 17%.
- … Yet Interest in Playing Golf is High Among Three Largest Minority Groups: The study estimated the participation rate of white golfers at 14.5% of their population or 34.9 million golfers according to census estimates. The only minority group to participate at a level close to the Caucasian rate is the Asian‐American group at 13.7%. Hispanic and African Americans participate at much lower levels, 5.7% and 7.0% respectively. As shown below, interest in the game among the three minority groups is high.
- The Population Growth Rate of Golf’s Largest Current Customer Base is Projected to Be Flat, While the Rest of the Population is Projected to Double By 2050: Based on the US Census Bureau’s most recent data, the growth rate for the golf industry’s largest current customer base (white) is projected be flat while the rest of the population (minority groups and non-Hispanic whites) is actually projected to double by 2050.
- Golf Participation is Directly Correlated to Household Income: The National Golf Foundation study highlights the correlation between household income and participation in the game of golf – regardless of ethnicity. As shown below, participation rates with household incomes over $100,000 are between 20% and 30% for both minorities and whites. However, at incomes between $50,000 and $75,000, participation rates for minorities drop off dramatically. This data suggests that in order to increase participation, minority household incomes must increase, such as through the use and support of minority-owned companies (such as those included within the Golf Industry Supplier Diversity Initiative).
- By 2015 the Top Four Minority Groups Will Account for Approximately 26% of the Nation’s Total Buying Power: The minority community is projected to account for approximately 26% (nearly $3.6 trillion) of U.S. buying power by 2015; this projection, coupled with the increase in minority population, represents a tremendous growth opportunity for the golf industry. Targeting a diverse customer base while simultaneously supporting diverse businesses can generate additional revenue for those involved in the game of golf.