The importance of the golf industry to the economic health of the state of South Carolina is reflected in a study by the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.
In 2018, golf courses and the off-course expenditures of visiting golfers had a total economic impact (direct, indirect and induced) in S.C. of $2.59 billion.
The Economic Impact of Golf in South Carolina study, done for and with the cooperation of the S.C. Golf Course Owners Association, takes into account the state’s more than 300 courses.
“What we see is the state’s golf economy remains very strong,” Golden said. “When you look at the off-course expenditures compared to on-course expenditures it shows the strength of golf tourism, and that it’s a really strong component of the overall tourism industry.”
According to the study, golf in 2018 accounted for 31,434 jobs and produced $857 million in wages and income, generated $309 million in federal, state and local taxes, and accounted for 35 percent of state admissions tax collections ($12.4 million).
Those figures don’t reflect the impact of off-site purchases of golf equipment by local golfers or real estate sales in golf communities.
Golf’s direct economic impact was $1.43 billion, while indirect and induced effects added an additional $1.16 billion using a multiplier of 1.82 – that is 82 cents of every dollar in direct output was re-spent in the state’s economy.
The average number of rounds played per 18-hole course was 27,062 and was highest in the coastal region that includes Myrtle Beach, where the average was 35,052.
The average revenue from membership dues, green fees and cart fees per round was $52.78 statewide, and that increased to $70.64 in the coastal region and $140.57 at private courses.
In addition to money spent at courses, visiting golfers spent an estimated $870 million at hotels, restaurants and other retail and entertainment businesses.
The most common originating states for visiting golfers were Ohio (17 percent), North Carolina (11 percent), Pennsylvania (9 percent), New York (9 percent) and Georgia (6 percent), and S.C. residents accounted for 16 percent of golf trips in the state.
The median age of visiting golfers was 48, and the median household income was between $100,000 and $125,000.
The top golf destination was Myrtle Beach, followed by Hilton Head and Charleston.