Photograph by Tim Bieber/Getty Images
The Greens Economy
To many people, golf is a (choose one) religion/addiction/joke. Everyone from William Wordsworth to Alice Cooper has opined on the sport/hobby/sinkhole of despair. What's undisputed: Golf remains a big moneymaker. Some 26 million U.S. golfers helped the industry generate $69 billion in revenue in 2011, according to the latest data from market researcher SRI International. While that's down from $76 billion in a 2005 SRI study, it tops revenue from such professional spectator sports as baseball, basketball, football and hockey combined, according to the Census Bureau. Add in the spillover effect on industries such as tourism, and the golf economy expands to $177 billion. So before watching British Open replays/putting in your living room/snorting derisively, take a moment to marvel at the greens economy.
The Golf Economy: $69 billion