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NGF Golf Participation Report 2024

National Golf Foundation

The National Golf Foundation (NGF) has just dropped its annual Golf Participation Report, giving us the lowdown on who's hitting the greens in the U.S. each year.

Traditionally, NGF's golf participation research has delved into the classic on-course experience. But this year, they decided to spice things up by categorizing participants into three exciting groups: the on-course players (12.1 million in 2023), the off-course players (18.5 million), and the dynamic individuals rocking both worlds (14.5 million).

Off-Course includes engagement in golf entertainment venues such as Topgolf, standalone driving ranges, and businesses featuring simulators and screen golf setups.

Table of Contents

NGF Golf Participation Report 2024: Key Takeaways

The following key takeaways highlight the dynamic nature of golf participation, encompassing growth patterns, demographic shifts, and the influence of external factors like the pandemic and social media on the sport's perception.

Consistent Growth in On-Course Golfers

On-course golfers have witnessed a steady increase for six consecutive years. Despite this growth, there's a notable shift in the demographic composition within the community.

Diversity Discrepancy between On-Course and Off-Course Participants

Off-course participants more closely mirror the overall U.S. population mix. This group stands out for its vibrant representation across age, gender, race, and ethnicity in contrast to its on-course counterparts.

Pandemic-Induced Resurgence and Shift in Perceptions

The onset of the pandemic has led to a resurgence in golf's popularity. Younger age groups, in particular, now hold more favorable perceptions of the sport. Social media and off-course engagement play a pivotal role in enhancing golf's cool appeal.

Influence of Celebrities and Content Creators

Celebrities, athletes, and influential content creators contribute significantly to the positive visibility of golf. This impact extends to individuals who traditionally aren't golf enthusiasts.

Significant Demographic Changes in On-Course Golfers

The on-course participation pool of 45 million Americans has led to noticeable demographic shifts. Notably, there's been a 23% increase in women and girls participating in on-course golf since 2018. Asian, Black, and Hispanic golfers have seen an impressive 43% surge, surpassing demographic changes in the broader U.S. population. The number of junior golfers has experienced a noteworthy 40% upswing, reflecting a trend towards a younger and trendier golfing demographic.

Total Golf Participation in the United States in 2023

For six consecutive years, the count of on-course golfers has been on the rise. Noteworthy, however, is the gradual transformation in the demographic composition of this community, all within a sport embraced by over 26 million recreational American players.

In contrast, the demographics of exclusively off-course participants mirror the overall U.S. population mix more closely. This group displays a vibrant and diverse representation across age, gender, race, and ethnicity, standing out in comparison to their on-course counterparts.

Venn Diagram for Total U.S. Golf Participation

Golf has experienced a resurgence since the onset of the pandemic, leading to more favorable perceptions of the sport, particularly among younger age groups. The surge in off-course engagement and social media has played a pivotal role in enhancing golf's popularity and cool appeal. Celebrities, athletes, and influential content creators with substantial followings contribute significantly to the positive visibility of golf, especially among those who are not traditional golf enthusiasts.

With a staggering 45 million Americans actively participating in golf and approximately 40% of our national population engaging in playing, reading about, or watching golf, there's a noticeable impact on the demographic landscape of on-course golfers.

In the past five years, the on-course participation pool has experienced slow but noteworthy shifts, as illustrated in the following table.

U.S. Golf Participation Demographics

Diversity On The Green

During this period, some of the most notable surges in on-course players have occurred in categories traditionally underrepresented, namely females and individuals of color.

The number of women and girls engaged in on-course golf has witnessed a remarkable 23% increase since 2018, while the count of Asian, Black, and Hispanic golfers has soared by an impressive 43%, surpassing the demographic changes observed in a U.S. population that continues to grow more racially and ethnically diverse.

Simultaneously, there has been a noteworthy 40% upswing in the number of juniors hitting the golf course, marking a trend where golf is evolving to become younger and trendier. It's truly an exciting era to be part of this game.

For NGF members, the 2024 Participation Report provides the latest insights into golfer research, showcasing year-end 2023 data across various segments and age groups. The report also delves into information about off-course-only participants and the growing interest in the game among non-golfers. You can access this new member report on NGF Website.


Golf's popularity is rising, aided by the accessibility of driving ranges and innovative venues like Topgolf. The game continues to attract newcomers annually, and we anticipate this trend to surge even higher in the coming year.

FAQs about NGF Golf Participation Report

What Does the NGF Golf Participation Report 2024 Highlight?

The NGF Golf Participation Report 2024 highlights the unprecedented surge in golf enthusiasts, demystifying participation demographics, and showcasing trends like the tech-driven training revolution and the rise of sustainable golf courses.

What Economic Impact Does Golf Have?

The economic impact of golf extends beyond the greens. The NGF Golf Participation Report 2024 outlines how the sport contributes to job creation, tourism, and the growth of businesses catering to the diverse needs of golf enthusiasts.

Are There Investment Opportunities in Golf?

Absolutely. The NGF Golf Participation Report 2024 highlights emerging investment prospects within the golfing industry. From technology startups to sustainable course development ventures, the report uncovers opportunities for investors.

Where Can I Access the NGF Golf Participation Report 2024?

For detailed insights and a comprehensive understanding of the NGF Golf Participation Report 2024, visit the official NGF website. Stay informed and explore the exciting developments in the world of golf.


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