Business of golf is in the bunker

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by ALLEN SCHAUFFLER / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on July 29, 2010 at 5:51 PM

SAMMAMISH, Wash. - Just one new golf course will open in Washington state this year – a Par 3 course at Mount Si. The recession has hit hard and golf industry leaders want everybody to know the business of golf is both struggling and important in Washington state.

The U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee Country Club is one of three big events over the next month that will help put the focus back on golf in our area and bring in some much-needed dollars. Next month, the U.S. Amateur will be held at Chambers Bay in University Place. That same weekend, the Boeing Classic will be held at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge.

"It will bring more people to the game of golf, get them excited about the game of golf. And almost as important as anything else, it will put the Northwest on the map as far as golf destination locations," said John Bodenhammer, head of the Washington State Golf Association and Pacific Northwest Golf Association. To put it kindly, business is brutal.

"Nationally and internationally, golf is flat. It's not growing. The industry is trying to turn that around but it's a challenge," said Bodenhammer.

A coalition of industry groups commissioned a study on golf's economic impact, not just on the course but to surrounding businesses that rely on the golf industry.

The study found a golf economy of $1.2 billion per year and a total economic impact of $2.5 billion. It generates $116 million in tax revenue and more than $796 million in yearly wages paid.

The game of golf has been hit hard by the recession. Those who make a business of the game are jittery about tax and regulatory changes that could make things even harder.
 

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