Money and Golf

Frank and Valerie,

Thank you for being “frank”.

There seems to be an ever-increasing amount of money spent in golf and related industries, not to mention the money at stake on the PGA Tour on a weekly basis.

I keep reading that more golf courses are closing than opening but many golf related industries seem to be churning out a good living for those involved, and I am not sure that this is good for the essence of the game.

What you think, Frank?


New York


It was reported in 2008 that, “Golf is America’s $76 Billion Economic Engine” and this must have increased since.

This is the annual revenue from all golf related stuff, which includes travel, accommodation, real estate development, course design, mowers, golf bags, balls and clubs, shirts and shoes etc.etc. and even green fees and beer sold.

As you have mentioned, the PGA Tour is also a big money maker, providing entertainment to golf fans who aspire to be as good as the pros. The Tour players – the entertainers — are very well off: the top 25 earners make $ 2 ¼ million or more annually and these earnings do not include any endorsement money which is estimated to be about five or more times earnings for the top stars. The PGA Tour’s mission is to “substantially increase player financial benefits while maintaining its commitment to the integrity of the game” and it does generate a significant amount for charities.

It should also be remembered that those on their way to the PGA Tour go through many hard times, unless they have a generous sponsor, and there are no guarantees of success for a golfer who chooses this path.

My personal feeling is that, in general, commercialism is over riding efforts that are attempted to further the best interests of the game and in turn, this affects the essence of what the game is all about and the very reason why it is so addictive.

This does not imply that making money from the game is bad: it’s just that when the object of entry into the game is solely to make money then we lose something along the way.    

This brings to mind a quote from Just Hit It;  

“The game of golf is a big and beautiful thing.  It instills self-reliance, rewards excellence that is sought through honest effort, can be enjoyed by young and old, men and women, rich and poor, and is at heart as simple as whacking a little round object with a stick.  It is as possessing, obsessing, bewitching and beguiling a pastime as man has ever devised.  It’s ours to enjoy, and ours to pass along in as good a shape as we found it, and maybe better.   We proclaim the game our own every time we put a tee in the ground, every time we draw a club back in hope and anticipation.

We can all make a difference. The ball is waiting. 

Just hit it!”

Harris, I hope that greed does not overcome us, detrimentally affecting this therapeutic activity called golf and denying the opportunity we have had to our grandchildren and in turn theirs.

To our viewers I would like to know your thoughts: do you believe that golf is being overly commercialized?  Please share your thoughts below.



8 thoughts on “Money and Golf

  1. Surely the greatest waste of money in professional golf is the $10 million given to the FedEx Cup winner. An exercise designed to make rich men richer. That money would be better used to supplement golf money already going to junior golf development and for charity. David, Sydney, Australia

  2. It does not ruin the sport or the game for me. Golf is essentially a solitary game for us amateurs… and so the money does not directly affect us as far down the food chain as most of us are. What does affect us is the technology that has been spawned by the “sport” that has in turn affected the game… my game included, and in a positive, more enjoyable way for me if not for the golf courses of the world. I can turn off the TV, I am not a slave to endorsement money or even to a particular fan base or equipment company. The endorsement money has allowed the elite player to live very well, but very few golfers percentage-wise in the world make very much money at golf. They are free agents and as such make their money by their skill, their work ethic, and with their personalities as well. As free agents, I do not begrudge them their incomes. I don’t really care if they play for the money or not. It is their “job” after-all. I expect to be paid for the time and effort I put in at my profession, why should I feel they should not feel the same way about theirs? My complaint about TV would be that I tire of the fawning over certain players which tires me out frankly, no pun intended. I do know how to turn off the telly when I’ve had enough. As to a players morality, their travel schedules are not necessary family friendly and as such it should come as no surprise that these “performers” are not “gods” at all, but mere mortals. So, ultimately I can contribute or not contribute to the machine that makes the money for these athletes whether I like them or not. A healthy bottom line helps all the people that work in the golf related markets from the tour player down to the corner pub showing golf on the weekend to their clientele.

  3. Blame TV. TV demanded basketball have more scoring, so instead of a game of finesse, it became of a game of thuggery. They have essentially done the same thing with football (College & Pro) eliminating defense and emphasizing offense. In golf they have made an idol out of a philander and made the viewers believe that the driver (putter, iron, wedge, hybrid)used by the pro, is the same driver that will work for them. TV makes the purse money, and hence the hype is tolerated, but ruins the sport.

    • Brian, you have to blame the manufactures of the golf equiptment for the outlandish merchandizing that has created the fervor on TV. This is one of the reasons I am glad I don’t have cable or dish TV.

  4. If the PGA and USGA would have the courage to impose penalties for slow play on elite players, they would do much to solve the game’s biggest problem – slow play.

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