BC Leads Canadian Golf Rounds Boom in 2020

As anyone who got out to golf this year likely experienced, golf was a hot commodity when it came to staying busy and getting out into wide-open spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic and tee times became coveted across the country. Data recently released from the National Golf Course Owners Association backs the anecdotal evidence with an 18.9% increase in rounds played in Canada and BC continuing to outpace the nation with a year-to-date increase of 23.2% to the end of October 2020 and continuing to climb as Lower Mainlanders and Vancouver Islanders are still playing golf!

Rounds up Double Digits

Nationally, rounds across Canada were up 61.8% in October for 18.9% year to date. When comparing to the 5-year average, rounds were up 17.8% further reinforcing the success golf experienced during the 2020 season.

While 18.9% annual growth is impressive in and of itself, it is even more impressive when one considers that rounds were down 25.9% at the end of May. With rounds growth from June through October, supported by fantastic weather enabling season extensions, the Canadian Golf Industry recouped the first five-month deficit and catapulted the industry forward 18.9%!

British Columbia golf rounds played increased by 57.4% in October and 23.2% year to date, beating the 5-year average, and leading the country slightly ahead of Alberta and Atlantic Canada.


Golf course revenue follows a similar suit as round growth, showing that golfers are not only golfing more but also spending more (i.e. beverages and snacks). National data shows a revenue increase of 49.9% for the month of October (compared to 2019) and 28.6% year to date, but transactions increased a whopping 87.4% for October as well.

In British Columbia, revenues increased 45.8% in October (over 2019) and 16.6% year to date.

Looking Ahead to 2021

With new golfers to the game, equipment sales up significantly over the past summer, some sport and travel restrictions likely in place for a while, and continued implementation of COVID-19 protection protocols and ensuring golfers are offered an enjoyable experience during their visit, British Columbia golf courses can look forward to another busy season in 2021.


  • Golf continues to be incredibly healthy, safe and growing with a positive outlook for 2020 and beyond;
  • Canadian golf industry generated $18.2B in economic activity (GDP); contribution to Canada’s GDP through direct, indirect, and induced impact grew by 14% between 2013 and 2019
  • Industry employment includes nearly 249,000 golf-related jobs;
  • 4.8M trips by Canadians contributed to $8.6B in golf-related travel nationwide;
  • $330M in philanthropic dollars generated at more than 51,000 tournaments and charitable golf events;

The Canadian golf industry generated $18.2B in economic benefits across our nation in 2019, according to a recent economic analysis conducted by Group ATN Consulting Inc. on behalf of the National Allied Golf Associations (We Are Golf).

According to The Economic Impact of Golf in Canada (2019), the Canadian golf industry employs the equivalent of nearly 249,000 people through direct and spin-off effects and contributed to $10.6B in household income. The industry also contributed $4.5B in government tax revenue ($1.8B federal and $2.1B provincial) used to support a variety of programs for all Canadians.

Based on nationwide surveys completed by golfers and golf course operators in 10 provinces and three territories along with multiple industry data sources, The Economic Impact of Golf in Canada (2019) is a follow up to previous comprehensive and independent assessment studies (2014, 2009) of the economic impact of the golf industry in Canada. The $18.2B economic impact of golf represents a 14% increase in contribution to Canada’s GDP between 2013 and 2019.

The Economic Impact of Golf in Canada (2019) further reinforces the enormous financial, employment, charitable, tourism and positive environmental impact that the sport and the business of golf are affecting across Canada,” said Laurence Applebaum, Chair of We Are Golf and CEO of Golf Canada. “This third iteration of the study provides the golf industry with a powerful snapshot of the scale and magnitude that our sport has on the Canadian economy and within the communities where we live, work and play.”

The study presents economic insights for each of the 10 provinces and three territories from coast to coast. Also captured in the report are comparisons to international economic insights from select countries and regions including the United States, European Union, and Australia.

The Economic Impact of Golf in Canada (2019) was conducted on behalf of We Are Golf by Group ATN Consulting Inc., a world leader in economic development and analysis for communities, regions, and industries. Group ATN previously conducted the 2014 and 2009 Canadian Golf Economic Impact Studies (based on 2013 and 2008 data respectively) which have allowed the Canadian golf industry to benchmark the game’s economic impact over five-year periods.

“Every industry has its own unique circumstances to allow for, and the ability to repeat the same application of our model for Canadian golf is a significant advantage,” said Tom McGuire, Principal with Group ATN Consulting. “Beyond consistency, we have also been able to further improve certain aspects based upon learnings from the prior studies we did for the National Allied Golf Associations (We Are Golf).”


The game of golf accounts for an estimated $18.2B of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is up 14% from the $15.9B reported in 2014*. Included within the 2019 economic impact:

  • The golf industry directly employed nearly 150,000 full-time, full-year equivalent positions, representing many more individuals who are employed in the sector. This number grows to approximately 249,000 when accounting for direct, indirect, and induced employment.
  • The golf industry directly contributed $4.8B in household income, rising to $10.6B when considering the combined direct, indirect, and induced impacts.
  • The golf industry generated $4.5B in government tax revenue; including $1.8B in federal tax revenue and $2.1B in provincial tax revenue.
  • Conservatively, course operators invested $727M industry-wide on capital expenditures.

*Note that 2014 figures are adjusted by the consumer price index and reported as current dollars.

Additional Insights from The Economic Impact of Golf in Canada (2019):

  • Employment – The golf industry is a significant job provider for youth with 48% of its workforce identified as students.
  • Travel – Canadians along with international visitors contributed to $8.6B in golf-related travel nationwide. Canadians made approximately 8M trips involving golf, including 3.0M in their home province and 1.8M outside their home province and abroad.
  • Golfer Spending – golfers in Canada spent approximately $19.3B on items such as green fees, memberships, lessons, equipment, travel, hospitality, events, and other golf-related expenditures.
  • Canadian Course Operators – a total of 2,283 facilities were estimated to be operating in 2019, accounting for 2,043 courses (18-hole equivalent); course operators collectively spent approximately $3.8B in course expenditures.
  • Land management – Golf course operations manage between 155,000 and 175,000 hectares, including 30,000 to 35,000 hectares of wildlife and wetland area.
  • Charitable Impact – The golf industry generated an estimated $330M in charitable impact through more than 51,000 tournaments and events.
  • Golf Participation – Canadian golfers played an estimated 57.0M rounds in 2019.

Although released in 2020, The Economic Impact of Golf in Canada (2019) does not factor in the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Canadian golf industry.

“Establishing a baseline for the economic impact of our sport measured against pre-2020 Covid-19 spending is an important benchmark consideration for the integrity and continuity of the study,” added Applebaum. “Based on what we learned through the 2020 season, the safety of golf through this pandemic and the potential for a lift in participation and spending on the game, we are optimistic in looking ahead.”

An executive summary along with a complete report outlining the results of The Economic Impact of Golf in Canada (2019) is available by clicking here.

The Economic Impact of Golf in Canada (2019) was conducted by Group ATN Consulting Inc. on behalf of the National Allied Golf Associations (We Are Golf). Economic data included in the present study was collected through two online surveys promoted through We Are Golf partner channels: A Golfer Survey which collected complete financial responses from 955 Canadian golfers between July 2019 and February 2020; and A Operator Survey which collected complete financial responses from 143 Canadian golf course operators between January 2020 and March 2020.

We Are Golf is a Canada-wide coalition of the National Allied Golf Associations (NAGA) aimed at increasing awareness of golf as a key driver of our economy, a steward of our environment, and a vital way in which millions of Canadians stay fit and healthy every year. We Are Golf is comprised of Golf Canada, the National Golf Course Owners Association Canada (NGCOA), the PGA of Canada, the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA), and The Canadian Society of Club Managers (CSCM).

Team lead and the co-founder of Group ATN Consulting Inc. (GATN), Thomas McGuire, has led a series of economic impact studies (EIS) and analysis for We Are Golf, including the most recent 2019 assessment.

As a leading Canadian economist, Thomas brings decades of experience in economic impact analysis with a recognized specialization in sectoral studies. Find out more at www.groupatn.ca

Dan Pino | Senior Director, Communications | Golf Canada | 416-434-5525 | dpino@golfcanada.ca


2014 Economic Impact Study of Golf for Canada

2009 Economic Impact Study of Golf for Canada