According to a survey by the National Golf Foundation, golf is now played in 206 out of 251 countries and dependent areas. This also includes a nine-hole course on Christmas Island.
Around 82 percent of the world’s countries have golf courses, a total of more than 38,000. Only 7-Eleven and Subway have more physical business locations around the world.
The NGF maintains the official database of golf courses worldwide. A dedicated team checks the operational status of all golf courses – in the USA every 12 months and worldwide every 24 months. New courses in planning and construction are also being pursued.
Although golf is widely dispersed, it remains highly concentrated, with 80% of golf courses in the top 10 best-served countries. The United States is home to 42 percent of the world’s degree programs (more than 16,000), followed by Japan (3,140) and the United Kingdom (3,101).
Here in the U.S., Golf Datatech and the NGF saw the total number of rounds played increase 13.9 percent in 2020, despite losing rounds for several months in many states as COVID-19 precautions resulted in courses being temporary were closed.
Golfweek’s Best 2021: The top architects on the Modern, Classic Courses lists
The increase in the number of rounds played is due to players – both new golfers and seasoned players – seeking quarantine assistance in the relatively safe environments of golf courses.
And the increase in the number of games was maintained in 2021. In fact, many resorts are fully booked for the rest of the year, some well into 2022. For example, Bandon Dunes warns on its website that there are extremely high numbers of calls from people booking golf vacations. Bandon Dunes is home to five of the top 10 courses on Golfweek’s list of top resort layouts in the United States
“We’re seeing record-breaking occupancy rates and rounds of golf throughout 2021, even with 24 new guest rooms that we opened on August 1st,” said Don Crowe, general manager of Bandon Dunes. “This demand will continue until 2022 based on early booking trends and a high volume of calls to our reservations department. For larger groups with several overnight stays, we recommend starting the booking process at least a year in advance. “
The same thing happens across the country in the top resorts. Take a Midwestern example: Destination Kohler, Wisconsin – host of the Ryder Cup in Whistling Straits this month and home to four world-class golf courses – has a website warning of unprecedented phone calls and advising guests to use its new online booking system .