An astonishing 3,851 new golf courses have been opened in North America since 1990 – a 27% increase in golf supply. A survey of every new development that has occurred including course expansions and renovations. A complete inventory of a multi-billion dollar golf development boom.
Openings have been running steady at around 240 per year in the 1990’s with a small upward step in 1991.
While this research surveyed 202 new courses for this year it is estimated that around 260 courses opened in that year. Recent year openings are difficult to locate and survey, a proportion are not picked up until the survey is repeated in the succeeding year.
Expansions as a proportion of all development have doubled rising from 9% of development in 1989 to 18% currently.
A key reason for the rise in expansion activity is that it is easier to raise finance for an expansion than a virgin build. Financiers are more comfortable lending to a business with a few years operating figures than a greenfield start up.
Note: The above graph includes eighteen hole expansions the preceding graph only includes nine hole expansions.