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Canadian golfers take centre stage at the Masters

April 11, 2024, 2:00 p.m. (EDT)

It’s an honor to be invited to the Masters, perhaps the most prestigious of the big four annual golf tournaments of the year, and the unofficial launch of the golf season. Four Canadian golfers have been invited to this year’s event. Let’s tally up the score card of golf data in Canada, with no mulligans allowed.

Golf on the upswing since the onset of the pandemic

After years in the rough, revenue at golf courses and country clubs soared during the pandemic. Golf was an ideal pastime during pandemic given that it is played in the great outdoors and quite easy to maintain physical distancing, especially if you slice or hook the ball.

Despite more recreational activities to choose from in 2022 with the lifting of pandemic measures, operating revenue for golf courses and country clubs grew 9.5% to a record high $3.5 billion. Golf revenue in 2022 was almost one-third higher (+31.4%) compared with prior to the pandemic in 2019.

Operating expenses increased at a faster pace, up 14.0% to $3.1 billion in 2022.

Conversely, the profit margin at golf courses fell from 14.1% in 2021 to 10.6% in 2022. Nevertheless, this marked the third straight year where profit margins surpassed double digits. In the seven years leading up to the pandemic, profit margins did not break 1.0% and golf courses were in the red for three of those years.

Ontario and British Columbia top the golf revenue leader board

Nationally, Ontario remained in the lead in terms of golf course operating revenue with $1.5 billion generated by golf courses and country clubs in 2022, followed by British Columbia.

Perhaps it is not surprising then that all four Canadian golfers heading to the Masters this spring call Ontario or British Columbia home.

Over 1 in 10 Canadian households play golf close to home

We asked Canadian households if they participated in outdoor activities close to home in 2021. Over 1 in 10 households (13%) said they played golf, croquet, lawn darts, bowling or bocci close to home in 2021, unchanged from prior to the pandemic in 2019.

We did not ask about their score…

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